We are of Earth. We are star stuff… all beings - we are one.
“I, you, he, she, weIn the garden of mystic lovers,these are not true distinctions.” ~ Rumi
Whenever I am lost, I need only look around and I can find myself. For I am one with it all.
There is no me without the air. The air is a part of me, in my lungs and in my blood cells. There is no me without the water. My body is made of at least 50 percent water - I am water and water is me. There is no water without rain, or clouds, or sunshine or transpiration and evaporation. I rely on the sun and the rain to live, they are a part of me. There is no me without plant life - I need plant life to sustain myself, and so do the other animals that live around me. There would be no me without the people I love - my family and friends. They have given me life, culture, wisdom and experience. I depend on all these things for my life. My life is a miracle of inter-being.
It is a beautiful thing, to connect with the web of life that spreads outwards from ourselves, joining us to every other living thing.
Imagine a wide web of light surrounding you, linking you to every other being, and to the Earth herself.
These are powerful practices for spreading love and compassion along the threads that surround you. For the next while, see how many acts of attention you can gift to other beings…
IN CONVERSATION:1. Deep ListeningYou can ask a friend to practice this with you, or you can quietly try it out next time you are talking with a loved one. See what happens! …Listen with your full attention, giving your presence to the one you are listening to. Oftentimes in conversations (and especially during arguments), we can forget to truly listen, as we try to voice and defend our own opinions. Let go for a little while, putting aside assumptions or clever replies. Try to understand what is meant by what is being said. Be still, lend your ear, and be generous with your compassion.2. Loving WordsOur words are like spells, cast out into the world, creating magic and sometimes mayhem. Our words are like seeds, they sprout and grow. Choose your words as you would a spell, letting them follow your intentions. Seed love. Seed hope. Seed compassion.
IN THE WORLD:3. Loving GazeWe can look upon the world with love - generating compassion in our hearts for each tiny being. Try practicing this the next time you are walking down the street. Look at each person, noticing your natural tendency to judge others. Then gently lay that aside, and see them for who they are: another being, capable of every ounce of happiness and suffering. See them in their wholeness, their light, and you may feel a sense of compassion welling up inside your heart. This is the loving gaze, and it need not only apply to humans. The whole world can benefit, when we look with love.4. SmilingThis is so simple, yet it might be the most powerful practice listed here! A smile can entirely change your inner landscape, releasing endorphins, and relaxing your muscles. Plus, smiles are contagious! They multiply wherever they go.
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”~ Albert Einstein
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Get cosy, find a favourite pen, and take a few minutes to sit with these questions:
When I take a bit of an apple, where does the line between me and the apple begin and end? How about when I swallow that bite? And when I digest it?
How are my actions affecting those around me?How are my actions affecting my environment?
What does my web of interbeing look like? Who and what am I closely linked to? (You can get creative here, maybe even draw a picture)!
When I am overflowing with compassion, what does that feel like in my body?