More and more in daily life, I have little moments of realising how much suffering it causes me and the world around me, to experience myself as an isolated little unit, striving for independence and success in the world.
A moment of realising I am getting lost in the importance of everything being about me: my needs, my desires, my way of seeing the world – implicitly superior somehow to someone else’s. Or realising I feel lonely… or competitive…. or feeling a sense of loss or fear when I give something away… little moments that arise, that create suffering and separation and ask to be seen through a different lens.
A lens, which Thich Nhat Hanh calls ‘interbeing’: the understanding that there is one spirit that unites us all, life expressing itself in an infinite number of forms, everything interwoven. It is the realisation it is not just about ME but that I am part of everything and everything is part of me.
It’s like waking up to something I already know somewhere in my bones. But so entrenched we are, in a culture that sees everything as separate and competing for resources, that I believe we are unaware of how this different perception would change our entire experience of life. How would we relate to others if their needs and perspectives were just as valid as our own? How would we use our power? How would our experience of giving and receiving transform?
Of course we need our sense of self and our ability to focus on what separates us and what our needs are – that’s part of the game we signed up for and there is nothing wrong with it – but if we don’t combine it with our sense of interbeing, we are lost.
How does one access and embody interbeing? I am not sure, but I know that nature has been my biggest teacher – spontaneous moments that emerge through a simple act of grace, where a sudden glimpse of the felt, sensual bodily experience of merging with life appears. Everything in me drops and relaxes and remembers what it is to belong to and to trust in life. The sweet freedom of remembering its not all about me.
How do you access/cultivate interbeing? <3