I received the assembled quotes below from Mitchell Ratner, a Senior Teacher at the Stillwater Mindful Practice Center. I've only been there once (they are in the DC area), but continue to receive their e-mail meditation topics. They practice in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, with whom I seem to resonate.
Below he describes some of his concepts of "Interbeing". A recognition of the inter-relationships that make up every thing we see (and tend to take as a separate object). It is a very different way to view the world, and once internalized, makes it so much easier to recognize our shared humanity and mutual dependency. Which of course is what nature teaches us every day if we pay attention.
I hope on this Thanksgiving Day holiday, you are able to take a moment and reflect upon not only all that for which you can be grateful, but also how that relates to so much more of the world around us. Indeed, we can be grateful for it all, for we are but a small part of this world, and this world is us.
Extracts from The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh
[Excerpts assembled by Rev. Susan Manker-Seale]
“I like to walk alone on country paths, rice plants and wild grasses on both sides, putting each foot down on the earth in mindfulness, knowing that I walk on the wondrous earth. In such moments, existence is a miraculous and mysterious reality. People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child--our own two eyes. All is a miracle...
"…the great body of reality is indivisible. It cannot be cut into pieces with separate existences of their own…
“Consider the example of a table. The table’s existence is possible due to the existence of things which we might call ‘the non-table world’: the forest where the wood grew and was cut, the carpenter, the iron ore which became the nails and screws, and countless other things which have relation to the table, the parents and ancestors of the carpenter, the sun and rain which made it possible for the trees to grow.
“If you grasp the table’s reality then you see that in the table itself are present all those things which we normally think of as the non-table world. If you took away any of those non-table elements and returned them to their sources--the nails back to the iron ore, the wood to the forest, the carpenter to his parents--the table would no longer exist.
“A person who looks at the table and can see the universe is a person who can see the way…
“We have to strip away all the barriers in order to live as part of the universal life. A person isn’t some private entity traveling unaffected through time and space as if sealed off from the rest of the world by a thick shell… In our lives are present a multitude of phenomena, just as we ourselves are present in many different phenomena. We are life, and life is limitless.”