I was rereading Joanna Macy’s World As Lover, World as Self. I picked it up because of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, along our Gulf Coast way back in 2010.
I took a workshop with Macy years ago and there she talked about the need each of us has to grieve what we’ve done and what’s happening to the planet. As oil continued to pour out of that broken well I could barely bring myself to watch the multitude of webcams that documented the crisis.
Apparently I never read the whole book way back then. As I moved through it I found she had distilled many Buddhist teachings in a way that truly resonates with me.
What occurred to me one morning was to contemplate how often my thinking tends to see me as a separate individual with little or no connection to the whole. Yet the spiritual paths I know assure us we are all part of the whole, that “… the kingdom… is within…” (Luke17:21KJV). Science, particularly systems theory and quantum physics, would seem to prove those connections.
So, I wondered, how would my thinking, feeling and behavior change if that knowledge of connection, of reciprocity were really grounded in my being? What would happen if I replaced my(!) feelings of separateness and isolation with a knowing deep down I truly am part of the whole and that what I do or don’t do is part of how it all works out?
I found myself contemplating if it was possible that greed comes from the fear that a sense of separateness brings and I think perhaps it does. For I do believe it’s fear that is the basis of the hell-bent-drive for profits at any cost attitude that apparently was at least partially responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion that is resulting in an environmental crisis of as yet unknown and unrecognized proportion. And for most, if not all of the environmental degradation that’s the root cause of climate change.
If, as some Native American tribes were wont to do, we actually thought in terms of not today, or tomorrow or even our own children and grand children, but on out to the Seventh Generation, which is another way of expressing how we’re part of the whole, wildly different choices would have been made with very different results.
I’d like to move more in that direction which is why I’m(!) actively working to feel my way to more connection.
As I re-read and edit this essay almost a decade later I can see that I am more aware of my interconnectedness. Not 100 percent of the time, but more than I used to be. Which means what? I’m not sure, except that if I can become more aware that I’m truly part of the whole, that it’s all made of star stuff, that means others can also become aware of it.
What good will that do you ask? I don’t know, not for sure. I am, however, pretty well convinced it won’t hurt and might help. It is, I feel, worth the effort.
Love and blessings,
Originally published at whengrandmotherspeaks.com.