Beyond this self is not me connected with the outside world. It’s us, interbeing.
~ Jack Kornfield ~
Fifty years ago, Jack Kornfield went to Thailand as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Not long after he arrived, Ajahn Chah, a Buddhist monk became his teacher. The rest, as it is said, is history. In the years since then, he has been a beloved and leading teacher of Mindfulness Meditation.
We just finished reading his recently published (May 16, 2017) book No Time Like The Present — Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are. It’s filled with great stories, profound insights, and user-friendly, life-changing “practices”.
In some respects — and we say this in the most positive ways — it’s almost a book of “Spiritual Bumper Stickers”. There are so many one-liners that could be captured as instant centering reminders.
On page 250, he introduces the idea of “Interbeing” — of “working” together in harmony and love — with one of those great stories. Here it is:
Two women in nearby towns in northern Canada were forced to venture out in a fierce winter storm.
One was taking her pregnant daughter to the hospital; the other was driving to take care of her ill father.
They made their way along the same road from opposite directions, through hurricane winds and pelting snow.
Suddenly each was stopped on opposite sides of a huge fallen tree that blocked the road. It took them only a few
minutes to share their stories, exchange car keys, and set forth in each other’s cars to complete their journeys.
We were moved by the loving creativity and spontaneity of this incident. Instead of struggling and fretting, the women (presumably strangers) found a solution that worked perfectly for each of them. Is it possible that similar solutions could be discovered in all types of situations — if only we practice “being present”.
Could it be as simple as being open and willing? We’d like to think so.
Jack Kornfield suggests this is what “freedom” in action looks like. He summarizes the benefit of this by writing (pp. 253-254):
The great blessing is that you can use your freedom to bring freedom and benefits to others!
You can unite your freedom with theirs. As your own sense of personal freedom grows, you
can contribute to the well-being of the whole, taking to heart Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision,
“We are not free until all are free.” Each person who awakens to freedom and interconnection
can make an enormous difference.
This is, of course, an ancient spiritual truth. What we like about Jack Kornfield’s presentation is that it is fresh and contemporary, simple but elegant. What is there about the word “Interbeing” that is hard to “get”? It seems like such an easy and readily available idea, green with newness but ripe with wisdom at the same time. Can we make it “the co-creative buzz” for today?,
Join is in “bee-ing Interbeings” — buzzzzzzzz….
Olivia & Steve
While the term “Interbeing” may be new to you (as it was to us), bring to mind a time (and event) when you’ve experienced it. How did it effect you? Was it perhaps like “synchronicity”? How much effort did it require? Was it “scary”? Or was it (…in keeping with the season..) a “Trick or Treat”?
If you’re willing, please share your responses in the comment section under this blogpost as it appears on the Big Love Community Facebook page.
No Time Like The Present is such a good book, we decided to hold a class to explore it with others. To this end, we formed a Meetup Group. If you’re in the San Diego area and would like to join us, to sign up go to: https://www.meetup.com/No-Time-Like-The-Present-Read-Discuss-Meditate/ If you’re not in San Diego, perhaps we could do an “on-line” class. Please let us know by return email if you’d like to participate in a class like this!
If there are topics you’d like us to address, please send us an email from our “Contact Us” web page.