We, the sentient beings of the third planet (earth) from the star commonly known as the “sun”, declare that all existence is in a state of interdependence. The state of interdependence is a state of interbeing, of interconnectedness.
We recognize that people, animals, plants and minerals inter-are and share a single dwelling place on planet earth.
Sentient beings consist of people, animals and plants. These three domains of sentient beings are totally dependent on each other and on minerals. We say that a state of “interbeing” exists between them.
The Nature Of Interbeing
Plants utilize minerals, other substances and sunlight to deliver oxygen to the atmosphere. Animals breathe oxygen and eat plants and other animals in order to survive and reproduce.
People rely on oxygen, plants, animals and minerals for survival and a good life.
Consider the rose in the picture on the left. The rose is always changing. Like everything else in the cosmos, it is impermanent. This is the insight of impermanence and it leads to the insight of interbeing.
The rose is made up of many elements. The rose has the sunshine in it. Sunshine is a component of the rose. Without sunshine, the rose cannot exist.
The rose cannot be by itself alone. The rose has to inter-be with all the non-rose elements such as the sunshine, the clouds, the rain, the minerals, the earth and the gardener.
These are some of the many non-rose elements. The rose can only be possible if these non-rose elements come together.
Thus the rose is empty of a separate existence.
We can therefore see the nature of interbeing. Nothing exists by itself. Everything is interconnected with everything else.
This simple example of interbeing can be easily understood by a five year old child!
If we look deeper, we can see the whole cosmos in the rose.
There once was a giant nebula of gas and dust in our region of the universe. This gas and dust was left over from the explosion of a giant supernova more than 4 billion years ago. All the elements essential for life and the rose were created in that supernova.
Our total existence is a result of stardust! We came from stardust and will once again become stardust when the sun becomes a jolly red giant and absorbs our planet. Back to stardust we will go.
Next time you look up in the sky and see the stars, recognize that what you see is a tiny fraction of what is out there.
Our galaxy is one of 200 billion or more galaxies. Our sun is just an ordinary star. The only thing special about it is that it has a planet in the “Goldilocks zone” – close enough to the sun to receive its warmth, but not so close that the water is vaporized. Earth is not so far away that the water is ice. It is the perfect zone for life as we know it to exist.
Other stars have planets and many have been discovered. As of the date of this writing, there are 851 observed exoplanets – planets that orbit stars other than the sun.
The Declaration Of Interdependence
So now that we recognize the nature of interbeing, what do we do?
We declare that all humanity is in a state of interbeing. From this we conclude that no one person is separate from the rest of humanity. No human being could exist by herself or himself at all. We are dependent on each other and the environment.
This means that all humans share an equal right to enjoy happiness and avoid suffering. This is the wish of all sentient beings!
Therefore, no one should enslave another.
No one should take the life of another.
No one should take from another anything that is not freely given.
No one should force a sexual act on another.
Everyone should listen deeply to the cares and concerns of someone in need.
Everyone should speak honestly, lovingly and clearly when they need to.
Everyone should consider the finite resources of our planet when deciding how to live their lives.
Loving Kindness And Compassion
If we recognize our nature of interbeing, we will appreciate that we have everything we need to be happy in the present moment. We can develop loving kindness and compassion towards ourselves and eliminate our fear of scarcity.
We can learn to shower loving kindness and compassion on ourselves and appreciate life just as it is.
Once we become accustomed to experiencing loving kindness and compassion for ourselves, we will naturally want to share this with our immediate family – our parents, grandparents, spouse and children and their children and so on. We can shower loving kindness blessings on these most important people in our lives.
Then we can spread our loving kindness and compassion towards our uncles, aunts, siblings and their children and their children’s children and so on to all members of our extended family.
Soon will will want to shower our loving kindness and compassion on our close friends and their families. These are the people we spend time with frequently and whenever possible.
Most likely, we will encounter family or friends who are suffering from an illness or other upsetting event. We can learn to shower our loving kindness and compassion on these folks as well. This kind of activity can even help them to heal.
Now that we know how to shower loving kindness and compassion on people we know, we can learn to shower loving kindness blessings on all sentient beings and our lonely planet.
Starting with ourselves, continuing with our loved once, all the way down to our planet we can use the following blessings. While they refer to ourselves, we can easily substitute someone or many other people or planet earth as the subject.
May I be at peace.
May my heart remain open.
May I know the beauty and the radiance of my own true nature.
May I be healthy.
May I be free of suffering.
May I be happy, truly happy.
In honor of the Declaration of Interdependence, we commit to make this a part of our daily meditation practices.
Sign The Declaration of Interdependence
We are all invited to sign the Declaration of Interdependence! This is fun and easy to do. Just place a comment on this page that says anything you want about the Declaration of Interdependence. It can be as simple as just your name or “I am honored to sign the Declaration of Interdependence.”
You may also suggest what we should do to make the Declaration of Interdependence better known. What suggestions do you have?
Originally posted on November 24, 2012.