A felt connection with the interdependent web of existence.
The seventh component of spiritual health is a felt connection with the interdependent web of existence. This component is referred to in the joke about the Buddhist monk who asked the hot dog vendor to “make me one with everything.”
The felt connection with the interdependent web is similar to the attunement to the non dualistic Oneness but a bit different in our cognitive models. The attunement to the non dualistic Oneness is the clearing the mind of all thoughts and arriving at awareness of pure being and thinking of “no thing,” nothing. The felt connection with the interdependent web is paradoxically the opposite when we feel a part of all existence. This component of a felt connection to the interdependent web of existence is a significant feature of Earth Centered Spiritualities.
This feature of Earth Centered Spiritualities is centered around the idea that we are part of everything and everything is a part of us. Our atoms intermingle and our energy which animates life is eternal and infinite. This idea is stated in physics as the law of conservation.
The everyday practice of this component is captured in the slogan of the Golden Rule which is “do unto others as you would have then do unto you.” However the felt connection of the interdependent web is not a matter of altruism or a transactional interaction, but an existential awareness that the others are us is a systemic way.
This component of spiritual health is glimpsed momentarily but rarely as an ongoing conscious part of our spirituality because it seems paradoxical to the ego mind. However, this component is captured in sayings such as “we learn what we teach,” “we get what we give,” “if you would get love then give love,” etc. Sometimes people refer to this component as “karma,” what goes around comes around.
The skills involved to further develop this component of spiritual health are based on systems thinking. Systems thinking requires a distance which allows perspective and objectivity. It requires emotional distance so a person can be responsive and not reactive. It requires a “big picture” apprehension and not knee jerk reactions in the here and now. The felt connection to the interdependent web is probably based more in the prefrontal cortex of the brain rather than in the amygdala.
The felt connection to the interdependent web requires reflection and a centered appreciation which flows from mindfulness and forgiveness. People who have nurtured a felt connection to the interdependent web are naturally kind and compassionate. This felt connection with the interdependent web fills one with peace and joy.
In our busy, competitive, status and success conscious world of the ego, we are taught to put our faith in “getting ahead” and becoming “successful” rather than being sensitive and responsive to the welfare of the whole. In our capitalistic society our values have become perverted to enhance the ego rather than nourish the spiritual. We put our faith in money and success rather than in Love, appreciation, and gratitude. The love and respect for the interdependent web of existence is an essential component of spiritual health.