Interbeing As A Practice

Interbeing As A Practice

Discussion date: Thu, Nov 29, 2007 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening, after our meditation period, we will practice together the Three Touchings of the Earth. The Three Touchings are a wonderful guided movement that helps us recognizing our connections to our spiritual and blood ancestors, our contemporaries, and to the flow of life.
After the Touchings our program and discussion will focus on incorporating interbeing as a practice.

In the Second of the Three Touchings we read:

I am one with the wonderful pattern of life that radiates out in all directions. I see the close connection between myself and others, how we share happiness and suffering. . . .

I am one with the great beings who have realized the truth of no-birth and no-death and are able to look at the forms of birth and death, happiness and suffering with calm eyes. I am one with those people, who can be found a little bit everywhere, who have sufficient peace of mind, understanding and love to be able to touch what is wonderful, nourishing and healing, and who also have the capacity to embrace the world with a heart of love and arms of caring action.

I am someone who has enough peace, joy and freedom to offer fearlessness and joy to living beings around me. I see that I am not lonely and cut off. The love and the happiness of great beings on this planet help me not to sink in despair. They help me to live my life in a meaningful way with true peace and happiness. I see them all in me and I see myself in all of them.

These are inclusive, noble ideas. Most of usrelish the thought of having “enough peace, joy and freedom to offerfearlessness and joy to living beings around me.” But if they are justideas, the tradition of mindfulness remind us, then we have verylittle. It is as if we had ideas about food, but we continued tobe hungry and undernourished.

We are nourished wheninterbeing becomes a practice, and by practice I mean two things.First, that with mindfulness we develop the capacity to recognizeinterbeing through deep and direct observation. For example, I maydeeply comprehend, with both mind and body, that the tension Ihold in my jaw is not just my tension, but also the tension of myparents and grandparents, and of all the conditions of their lives (andof my life). And I may understand that its presence affects what I say,what I think, and how I act.

The second meaning of practice isthat we act from our insights, and inso doing affirm them and deepen them. For example, understanding theinterbeingnature of the tension in my jaw, seeing how it contributes tooutcomes different from what I want for myself and others, Ican changehow I live. I may decide to be more consistent in noticing when thetension is present, I might try massage or see a physicaltherapist, or Imight change my job, or reduce the busyness in my life.

Interbeingbecomes a deep practice when this coming together of deepawareness and action becomes the way I orient myself to what is presentin me and also what is present outside of me.

In ourdiscussion we will explore the areas in our lives in which we are ableto nourish ourselves through practicing interbeing, and also theareas in which it is a challenge for us — when we lose our focus,clarity, and peace of mind.

You are invited to be with us. Thebest times to join our Thursday evening gatherings are just before thebeginning of our 7 p.m meditation, just before we begin walkingmeditation (around 7:25), and just after our walking meditation (around7:35).

For at least the next four weeks, there will be no informal dinner gatherings beginning at 5:45. If you would like to see the dinners re-initiated, or have comments or suggestions, please email Steve Allen at 

An excerpt on the practice of interbeing by Thich Nhat Hanh is below.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher

The Practice of Interbeing
by Thich Nhat Hanh, from Transformation at the Base

Whenwe live in mindfulness, everything takes place in the concentration oflooking deeply. When our concentration is weak, we might be able to seethe nature of [interbeing] for a short time, but we soon fall back intoseeing things as permanent and having a separate self. But with strongand steady concentration, we can continue to see the nature ofinterbeing of things within and around us. . . .

Generating theenergy of mindfulness is essential for the practice. We have to liveeach moment of our life mindfully. We look, listen, and touch with ourmindfulness. When we cook, we cook mindfully, aware of our breathingand what we are doing. Enjoying our breathing in whatever we are doing,we produce the energy of mindfulness to help us touch life deeply.Meditation helps us obtain insight, dissipating our misunderstandingand ignorance, and brings about love, acceptance, and joy. There is noneed for us to run away from birth and death. There is no need to runaway from our garbage. We can learn the art of taking care of oursuffering and transforming it into peace, joy, and loving kindness. Ifsuffering, fear, or despair is there, adopt the attitude of nonfear.Learn the techniques of transforming the garbage of the afflictionsinto flowers of well-being, solidity, and freedom.

Lookingdeeply into a flower, we see the interbeing of the flower. Lookingdeeply into the garbage, we see the interbeing of the garbage. Lookingdeeply is not speculating. We have to practice. We have to beconcentrated. We have to be present in order to touch the flowerdeeply, to really experience its nature of interbeing. When we livemindfully, everything reveals the nature of interbeing. Looking deeplyat a leaf, we touch the sunshine, the river, the ocean, and our mind init. This is true practice.

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Nov 29, 2007


This week
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Sun, September 24 Mon, September 25

Silver Spring Morning Meditation

Friends in Different Places

Tue, September 26

Takoma Park Morning Meditation

Tuesday Evening Gaithersburg Group

Wed, September 27

Silver Spring Morning Meditation

Spanish-Speaking Online Practice

Still Water Kent Island

Thu, September 28

Takoma Park Morning Meditation

Fri, September 29

Silver Spring Morning Meditation

Sat, September 30