Interdependence Always Arising
A reflection on practice by Marcia Rose
Find a comfortable place to sit on a cushion on the floor or in a chair. Gently close your eyes & bring your attention to the direct sensorial experience of your breath for a few moments. Now visualizing or sensing an enormous jeweled net, a net of boundless proportions…letting this fill your mind & heart. This net is woven of an infinite variety of brilliant crystal gems, each with countless facets. At each point where the strings of the net meet there is a brilliant highly reflective, muti-faceted gem with each jewel reflecting within itself every other jewel in the net. At the same time its image is reflected in each of the other gems. In this vision each jewel contains all the other jewels. To look at one gem at any point is to see the reflection of all the gems at all of the points in the net…a boundless net of beginningless – endless radiating aliveness.
This practice is a metaphor for the intricately interwoven tapestry of life, with everything constantly changing & everything reflecting everything in this many hued & faceted jeweled net of life. This understanding that lies at the heart of all of the Buddha’s teaching arises from his teaching of Interdependent Co-Arising. In our growing understanding that no-thing spontaneously exists all on its own, we truly come to know that everything, including all physical & mental experience, have many, even infinite, contributing factors & conditions of causation. Within each ‘thing’ are MANY things.
This sublime teaching was clearly expressed in this verse from the Buddha.
‘This is, because that it.
This is not, because that is not.
This ceases to be, because that ceases to be.’
Seeing/knowing the world in this way can greatly demystify things for us, along with uniting us…bringing us together…offering us the wisdom to make ethical decisions with more skill & compassion. We are more clearly able to see the potential repercussions of what may have seemed to be harmless actions & reactions in relationship to ourselves & others. Mindful insight arises in seeing the impact that we have on others & in relationship to our environment. And, we find more patience arising in relationship to ourselves & others as we begin to more clearly understand the origin of our thoughts, emotions & actions. We learn to sense, see & know the interdependence between our reactions & moods/emotions…between our emotions/moods & our decisions…between our decisions & our contracted resistance or greed.
A GREAT GIFT of this understanding/ insight is our growing ability to intervene in the process of reactivity. Rather than immediately, habitually reacting in ways that cause suffering for ourselves & others, our practice gives us some ‘breathing space’ between what may be a strong or subtle unpleasant experience & our habitual reaction to unpleasant experience. We might still feel angry, fearful, greedy & upset, but there is now a few second gap in our heart/mind. With our mindfulness-based insight practice this ‘gap’ increases over time to a few more seconds…allowing our agitated mind to ‘cool off’. And seeming miraculous, at least at first, we now have a broader range of choices for how to RESPOND rather than react internally & externally. It can be quite an incredible change for us when mindfulness intervenes in our habitual ‘chain of causation’ that causes suffering for ourselves & for others. We experience a wonderful freedom with this change as it develops, deepens & matures within the whole of our life.
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