Include All Things

The insight of interbeing tells us to include all things. This inclusiveness pertains to people, animals, plants and minerals all the way down to the smallest atom (hydrogen) and all the up beyond the visible universe.

But this is not a new idea as many think. For example, in my interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson in Cosmology and Buddhist Thought: A Conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson, he said,

In modern times, we have come to learn about ecology, the interdependence of life, animal life, plant life, water supply, and the atmosphere as a system. Systems engineering is all about interconnectivity and parts that create one functioning whole.

You could say that Buddha knew this from the beginning. However, before the 20th century, what a human did had very little consequence outside of their system. People were far enough apart that their behavior would not necessarily affect others. Back then, interconnectedness had very little meaningful consequence to anything.

Today, we fly airplanes from continent to continent; insects and vermin ride ships from one place to another; we change gases in the atmosphere here that circulate around the globe. To say that we are interconnected today with the same fervor as we were interconnected a thousand years ago is just misusing the word. If you don’t distinguish those two cases, it’s hard to have a conversation about what it means to be interconnected.
– Jerome Freedman, PhD from Cosmology and Buddhist Thought: A Conversation with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

This point of view fails to take the historical dimension into account. In the early days of human evolution and even today in indigenous tribes we find a reverence for nature and gratitude for everything that nature provides. People worshiped Mother Earth and Father Sky and lived in harmony with nature. Even Ralph Waldo Emerson recognized this when he wrote,

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sallie Tisdale agrees. She writes,

Gratitude, the simple and profound feeling of being thankful, is the foundation of all generosity. I am generous when I believe that right now, right here, in this form and this place, I am myself being given what I need.
Sallie Tisdale, “As If There Is Nothing to Lose

As you may know from reading Meditation Practices, the insight of interbeing and gratitude to be two of the most fundamental teachings of the masters from all times. I am so thankful that I have learned to appreciate what I have and to share with people the importance of gratitude.

How will you practice the insight of interbeing and gratitude? There are plenty of exercises for these in the pages of Meditation Practices.

Enjoy your practice!

Books by Jerome Freedman

Cosmology and Buddhist Thought: A Conversation with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Jerome Freedman

Cosmology and Buddhist Thought is the result of a conversation with astrophysicist and television celebrity, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, that took place in New York at the end of May, 2011. While cosmologists look at the outer space with massive instruments a…

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