There is a couple who have made great impact upon my life. They are beautiful, kind and open hearted. Kindness flows from the warmth of their smiles. I may see them again, or I may not. I don’t even know their names, nor have a means to contact them, yet I treasure every moment I have shared with them.

You see, when arriving at the car park in the city for a regularly attended yoga class, I often see this couple. I have seen them there no more than five, perhaps six times. However, we always say good morning as we share the elevator. If I see them drive in to the car park as I am waiting for the elevator, I will hold it for them, as they will for me. We share the briefest, most basic conversations, enquiring one if the other is well, taking note of what a beautiful day it is. Kindness shines from their eyes and in this beautiful, simple connection, I feel held and nurtured. I am touched. I feel a sense of oneness with the world and the human family around me.

This, I am convinced, is one of the most essential, if not the most essential of all the facets of human life. The sense of connection to something larger than ourselves. The sense of the familiar, of familiar faces and voices and hearts. We may know the names of these people, or not. We may have had in-depth conversations with them, or may not have ventured beyond a nod and a, “Hello”. Nonetheless, one such moment of connection can make us feel that we are not alone, can bring us back to the sense not only that we are not alone, but that we are fundamentally one with the people around us.

There is, as I understand it, an African saying that, “It takes a whole village to raise a child”. I think that this goes far beyond that. Do we ever become ‘fully grown’ and cease to need those around us? For learning, encouragement, support and the sharing of joys, we can come again and again to the community, the communities of which we are a part.

As we see in the practice of yoga postures, as Bryan Kest says, “The integrity of the web depends on the smallest strand.” In community, no person is insignificant. In community, we are held and supported. It is into community that we are born and through community that we grow.

Martin Robert Collyer, Yogi