Being human is an amazing thing, isn’t it? I mean, we have these incredibly large brains, that we can use to think and imagine and solve problems and ultimately shape the world around us. We have our own thoughts, our own feelings, and our own bodies. As individuals, we are each unique and special. It’s really amazing!
But along with this feeling of individual power and uniqueness comes the feeling of separation – separation not only from other people, but also from nature itself. It’s the feeling that I am special, that this is my body, this is my mind, and that it is unique, and that it must be protected and preserved at all costs. This feeling of separation influences the decisions we make and the actions that result from those decisions. Fear can easily arise when one feels separate or isolated. And therefore fear can be at the root of the decisions and actions one takes. What kind of world does this create?
The opposite of the feeling of separation is the awareness of interdependence. Interdependence is simply the fact that all parts of nature (including us!) are completely dependent upon one another for their existence. One thing cannot exist without all other things. Take, for example, the cup of coffee you drank this morning. The beans used to make that coffee were grown in a field in Colombia by a farmer and his family. They worked hard to cultivate the plants and harvest the beans and process them for trade. And the beans grew from a seedling planted by the farmer, and the plant got its energy from the sun and the rain and the soil. And those farmers needed their own energy from day to day as they worked in the fields, so they ate food bought from the local market, which came from the hard work of other farmers. And they also needed food and water and clothing from the work of so many other people. And ultimately all that energy, including the fuel of the boats and the trucks and trains that delivered the coffee beans to the supermarket where you bought them came from the energy of the sun and the earth and the work of other people. And on and on and on we can go describing the interdependent nature of reality starting with the coffee cup. That’s interdependence.
Well, instead of feeling separation all the time, what if we could maintain constant awareness of interdependence in our daily lives? If fear so easily arises in a state of separation, what sort of emotion is likely to arise with the constant awareness of interdependence? And how would that awareness of interdependence change the way we make decisions and the actions we take? What kind of world might that create?