Interbeing, part 3

It’s one thing to say We’re all in the together or We’re all interconnected or We are not separate from one another, and a whole other thing to truly understand, actively engage in, and PRACTICE enfolding the truth of our interbeing nature into our daily lives.

If we don’t learn, investigate, and actively use the tools given to us in the fluid art of cultivating mindfulness, we run the very high risk of getting caught in theory, intellect, and notions. It’s super easy to read about mindfulness. It’s super easy to call ourselves a practitioner or a Buddhist or whatever label that tickles our fancy (spiritual, seeker…). It’s even easy to say we understand what the heck mindfulness is, when in actuality we have no freakin idea and are doing little to nothing in the taking action department.

There are a lot of things that sound good in the context of our practice tradition (by which I’m referring to the Plum Village tradition based in the teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh). Here are a few examples: mindfulness, interbeing, letting go, compassion, true love, ease, joy, liberation, transformation. These sound great right?! What lovey concepts! Ah. But they are NOT concepts in the realm of our tradition. As practitioners we must work to dislodge these and other teachings from being mere concepts/ideas that sound nice and turn them into workable, actionable turnings of body, speech, and mind.

What does it mean to look with the eyes of interbeing, as our practice encourages us to do? A big part has to do with our becoming observers of our physical, mental, and emotional landscape – and then eventually moving from observer to a dutiful and faithful guard of the Four Kinds of Nutriments that fuel and propel us: edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. In order to look through the lens of interbeing we must be able to look clearly and accurately inwards, at our own selves. We cannot do the work of connecting deeply with others and dissipating our divisions of separation if we’ve not learned how to properly get in touch and grow familiar with our own person.

The Buddha said that everything needs food in order to survive. Nothing can survive without nourishment/food. In order to develop our ability to engage with the world from a place of interbeing, we must be firmly in touch with what input we’re allowing to enter through our body and mind and the heart of our experience. As two of the nutriments in particular can often pose some confusion (volition & consciousness), I would like to offer my own spin:

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Daily Practice – Day 9

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Day 9 – I was unable to sit this morning so although I did sit earlier at the center before I led an Open Way Sanghas board meeting and even though in an hour I will be leaving to return back to the center for our weekly Monday night Be Here Now Sangha group I did my six minutes just now in order to keep my daily practice going.  And since I went from doing the laundry at the laundry mat to the board meeting to volunteering with hospice to finishing up our taxes with our tax guy and am worn out I opted to practice laying down meditation instead of sitting meditation.  It was quite lovely.  Ya know, there’s no hard and fast rule that says you can’t lay down and meditate :)

Being in tune with our body and knowing how to listen to its signs of needing rest, food, water, playfulness, exercise, or other forms of nourishment is an important practice.  It is easy to ignore our bodies and to feed it in ways that are not beneficial to our overall health and well being.  Our minds and bodies are not separate but indeed very much connected.  If our physical body is not in harmony and balance our mind will reflect that and vice versa.  Let us take good care of ourselves in body and mind so that they in turn can take good care of us.  Listen carefully, our bodies and minds are telling us everything we need to know in order to care for them.