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I struggle with different visions of my future. The more traditional type job, intellectually stimulating and prestigious- a sort of stamp of excellence that indicates just how competent you are. The ultimately free experience, nothing holding you down, live day to day wherever your heart takes you- a sort of nomad liberated from judgement and dictated by love.

Before this past weekend I thought of this Duke Engage as strictly the first- expanding my knowledge of political systems, working a 9 to 5, meeting and interacting with the purpose of sparking thoughts that snow ball into future career ideas… I’m very grateful for this, it’s made me realise the breath of paths I could take and how equally fruitful any of them would be.

But this weekend in DC I reconnected with a deeper layer of myself- something that can easily get pushed out the window for short periods of time and occasionally manifests as an existential itch. The pot luck dinner and the drum circle.

Sunday reminded me of my experiences travelling- how open and complete love can be. Human warmth is contagious but it also reminded me of who I am and the reasons for my beliefs. There’s nothing more precious than human connection, nothing.

I often think about humanity with regards to the oversoul, Emerson thought about humanity as being deeply and irrefutably interconnected. Hinduism believes in the something called the god-particle, the basis of the concept of reincarnation. We all have a particle of divine in us, when we  pass this particle is recycled back into the world of the living, this is why we can use the term “old soul”, some particles are as long as time.

If every single one of us shares something divine in us, this transcends any other type of difference- in front of this nothing else can matter. Discrimination and judgement pales in face of this shared essence of life. Our love and experiences run deep, past what any of us can even know. We don’t know what shapes us, the phrase “oh he won’t remember this it doesn’t matter” with reference to young children makes me laugh. We are moulded by everything around us, an invisible memory remains lived and in the moment it shifted your life experience a micro inch in any given direction. All experiences shift everything, they complement each other, contradict each other, cancel each other out. On the immediate level these alterations in your course are too small to see, but just like sending an aircraft to the moon, a slightly shifted calculation from earth translates into a completely different trajectory further along the path.

My duty as a human, someone who cares about humanities’ oversoul, is to be devoted to shifting experiences towards kindness and love. There is no possible excuse, this is like a common good -we have a responsibility to take care of it because we all share it. Creating meaningful connections, being open to any type of experience free of judgment and open to micro or macro shifts- these are the things that make life full. Something deeply pigmented, with dashes of colour in every direction, an abstract expressionist artwork that up close makes little sense but as you take a step back it is breathtaking in the fact that its incoherentness makes it just the opposite, coherent.

When I retreat into myself everything is clear, there can be no other path for me than that of complete and utter devotion to freedom. Freedom of spirit, freedom of social connections, freedom of judgement but mostly importantly freedom to love.

Devotion to freedom, an oxymoron.