7 Week Study Program for
"The Bond"

By Lynne McTaggart


WEEK TWO
Talk for Speakers
Study Group Material



Week Two Message for Speakers

Born to Belong

Preparation: Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of The Bond

SUMMARY:
Deep connection, rather than competition, is the quality most essential to human nature: we were never meant to live a life of isolation and self-serving survival. Human beings need partnership just to survive; we experience the greatest stress and the most serious illnesses when we are isolated from others and from a sense of connection.

FULL TEXT:

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche proposed that the driving force of all human motivation is a ‘will to power.’ Yet, as the latest science demonstrates, rather than a will to dominate, the essential impulse of all life is a will to connect.

Deep connection, rather than competition, is the quality most essential to human nature: the latest science shows that we were never meant to live a life of isolation and self-serving survival. We experience the greatest stress and the most serious illnesses when we are isolated from others and from a sense of connection.

The most fundamental of our needs is a sense of belonging. Humanity is profoundly tribal; we feel most at home in small clusters in which we are a part of the whole. Indeed, so primal is the need to belong that ostracism is one of the most unbearable situations human beings endure.

Belonging may be so necessary to our existence that not satisfying it can be a matter of life or death.

The every-man-for-himself attitude fostered in the West, particularly in American society, can prove deadly to us, particularly to our hearts. Numerous studies show that people who are self-absorbed, cynical, and hostile to the world are more likely to die from a heart attack.

Connection protects us against stroke, depression – even the common cold. One study concluded that relationships of any sort — good or bad — improve your odds of survival by 50 percent.

This social Bond protects us, even in hard times. A sampling of Americans in the lowest income bracket suffered from virtually no stress about their financial circumstances, so long as they had two means of support: a strong spiritual connection and, even more important, a strong spiritual community.

Possible talking points (from Chapters 5, 6 and 7):

• Connecting with others is a matter of life and death; the lone-wolf, Gary Cooper-style all-American hero is a perfect candidate for a heart attack.

• Community is the best medicine we have and even protects us in hard times.

• We were born to give, not to be selfish. A desire to help others, even at personal cost, is so necessary to us that we experience it as one of our chief pleasurable activities, as essential and pleasurable as eating and having sex.

• One of our deepest needs is to agree with each other. Positive emotions – like happiness – and negative emotions – like loneliness – are both– socially contagious.




 

Week Two Lesson for Study Groups

Born to Belong

Reading guide: Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of The Bond.

Humanity is profoundly tribal; we feel most at home in small clusters in which we are a part of the whole. The need to move beyond the boundaries of ourselves as individuals and to bond with a group is so primordial and necessary to a human being that it remains the key determinant of whether we remain healthy or get ill, even whether we live or die.

Weekly goal: To examine why sharing and caring is essential to our good health and explore new ways that we can flourish individually only when we move beyond speaking, seeing and relating for just ourselves.


Discussion Topics:

• Why is the lone-wolf, all-American hero is a perfect candidate for a heart attack?
Challenge: Not all heroes in American culture represent striving for an individualistic goal but promote a sense of unity among all people. One example is James Stewart, who plays George Bailey in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ Can you think of others?

• Why is belonging so important to people and ‘excessive individuation’ so dangerous?
Challenge: Remember a time when you were have felt left out or excluded or a member of your group of yours was excluded. Why did it happen? How did it affect you or her/him, emotionally and physically? What could you have done differently to promote greater unity within the group?

• How do bad and good moods of others affect us at home or at work?
Challenge: This week, observe what happens to your mood and body language when you are in the presence of someone in a bad mood. Write it down and discuss it with the group next week.

• What are some examples of how community is the best medicine that we have, even during hard times?
Challenge: What new groups can you join this month, or strengthen through becoming more involved with them?


• We are told that human beings are innately selfish. What new evidence shows the reverse – that we were hardwired to share, care and be fair?
Challenge: Do something kind or altruistic for someone this week. Monitor what is happening to you, physically and emotionally, when you do

Group activity: Decide on three measures each one of you can take to strengthen the closeness of this group.