Interbeing with All Life

When I discussed interbeing with all life with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson several years ago, he said,

I would say in modern times, (I need to define modern as in the last century).  What you said recent times was 25 years.  In modern times, we have come to learn about ecology.  I’ll use a single word but more specifically the interdependence of life, animal life, plant life, water supply, atmosphere.

It’s a system; systems engineering is all about inter-connectivity and parts that create one functioning whole.  These concepts emerged as 20th Century revelations about the world that we live in.

So you can say that Buddha, Buddhist teachings knew this from the beginning.  However, if you go before the 20th Century, in mid-19th Century, so go earlier than that.  What you did had very little consequence outside of your zone, outside of your…
Jerome Freedman, Ph. D., Cosmology and Buddhist Thought: A Conversation with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, p. 38-9

Pale Blue Dot from Cassini

Recently, I saw this quote:

So when I look up at the night sky… I know that, yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts… is that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up… many people feel small because they’re small and the universe is big, but I feel big. Because my atoms came from those stars. There’s a level of connectivity.
Neil deGrasse Tyson

It seems like the idea of interbeing (the inter-connectivity of all things) has made an impression on him, especially when he looks up in the sky. I think his redo of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey has opened his vision.

Joanna Macy tells us

The most important thing to do is find your gratitude for life. Take stock of your strengths and give thanks for what you have, and for the joys you’ve been given. Because that is the fuel. That love for life can act like grace for you to defend life.

So don’t get too solemn. Don’t just spend all your time gritting your teeth. Laugh out loud. Enjoy a kind of wild joy. Ah! Now I have time, to break free from what had stopped me before. Now I’ve time. This time. To realize my interbeing with all life.
Joanna Macy

The other night, Jeff and I went to the California Academy of Sciences for the Dean Lecture on Coloring the Universe presented by the author, Dr. Travis Rector. On the way home, Jeff said that when he looks at the Hubble images that he has on his wall, he is filled with joy and a sense of connectedness (interbeing) with the whole universe. Of course, I agreed, even though I was experiencing jet lag from my trip to Europe.

The important point is that all life is connected in the universe in a way that we can experience the joy of being when we open to this possibility. Just go out some clear night and look at the stars. Then recognize that you are made entirely of “star stuff”!

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