Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rob Preece - The Courage to Feel: Interdependence

Buddhist Practices for Opening to Others

by Rob Preece

Dharma Quote of the Week

Recalling our interconnectedness, we begin to recognize our total interdependence and that whatever we enjoy in our life comes through others--through their efforts, their work, their hardships.

It does not necessarily require that others had a specific intention to enable us to enjoy the things of our life. If we think of this in terms of the obvious examples like food and clothing, we can immediately see the global meaning of this contemplation. Our food comes from all over the world and if we consider the people and other creatures involved in its production, picking, packaging, transportation, and selling so that we can enjoy it, the numbers are vast. It is through their labor, their efforts, their struggles that we enjoy what we eat. Often their lives are terribly hard, and to feed a family they must work for very little--yet we enjoy the fruits of their labor. This is something to feel a huge gratitude for.

If we begin to look more closely at our Western life, we can see how much we are dependent upon people in considerably poorer circumstances all over the world for what we consume. What we often don't consider is the impact of this consumption on those who produce it. In this meditation, it can be very useful to spend some time dwelling upon this so that we really feel the profound depth of appreciation for our interdependence upon others for our lives. This can counter the tendency to take our good fortune for granted and can open up a sense of gratitude for the kindness of those around. If guilt arises, it can be used to increase our awareness of the responsibility we have globally.

Gradually, we may begin to see the complete interdependent nature of our relationship with the countless other beings around us. We cannot overlook this connectedness to others and the kindness and benefit we have gained through them. When we come to feel this deeply, we will be able to hold others dear and automatically respond to others with a greater sense of care and concern. (p.80)

--from The Courage to Feel: Buddhist Practices for Opening to Others by Rob Preece, published by Snow Lion Publications

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(Good until December 2nd).

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