842nd Week: Interbeing: Connection, and Interdependence

Listening to the news these days can be a challenge with all the reports of rabid polarization, anger, and fear. This got me to thinking yet again about processes of subtle activism—things we can do within our own body-mind being that might add something positive and, at the very least, not add to the distress going on all around us.

This morning, as I sit in Central Park taking in the green of trees and abundant birdsong, I remember that we all “interare”. The word “interbeing” was created by Thich Nhat Hahn, the Buddhist monk and teacher, and he offered it as a way of reminding us that we are not only dependent on each other and on every other life form that is part of our ecological niche, but we are also related to everyone and everything on the planet. Even when we violently disagree with one another, we are related, part of an earth community of interbeing.

For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to spend some time living with this idea. If it’s already natural to you, then take it a step deeper and find even more earth relations you may have left out of your experience of connection. In a world of interbeing and interdependence, no one and nothing can be omitted. We are part of one global ecosystem and we deeply depend on this earth family with which we are connected.

As you ponder interbeing and interdependence, notice what happens in your body. In a sense, these two concepts represent frequencies, qualities, with which we resonate. Explore what happens in your body when you think about interbeing, that you interare with everything around you. This touches on the African concept of Ubuntu—I am who I am because you are you are, a worldview that affirms our interdependence with the world around us.

Also notice what happens in your emotional experience as you explore interbeing and interdependence more deeply. What feelings arise? Notice your thoughts, too. What thoughts arise and what is the quality of your thoughts and feelings when you resonate with the concept of interbeing? Remember that we constantly radiate the qualities of our thoughts and feelings not only throughout our whole body-mind being, but also into the environment around us.

As I sit with this particular practice, I move into a subtle-activism stance where I imagine the radiating tone and quality of interbeing flowing from me into our human collective, where it joins with others who also resonate with this experience. I have always felt that when we add these kinds of qualities to the information field that is our human collective consciousness, we are in service. I often have a sense of someone who teeters on the edge of coming into this awareness and how the experience of those of us who actively cultivate a sense of interbeing becomes a source of support, something that can help people take a step into a new experience of connection.

Notice what happens for you when you make a daily practice of orienting to your inherent connection to everything around you. Be sure to include the reality that we are inherently and inescapably interdependent—we depend on countless lifeforms and so many elements of our world in order to survive. Notice what you experience when you intentionally acknowledge and appreciate all that you receive from the world around you.

As with all these practices, please remember to bring curiosity with you as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through without your having to do anything with or about them.

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