Thich Nhat Hanh - Inter-Being or Inter-Are*:
What do you see when you see a paper?
Do you see a blank sheet - where you can shape your own creations? Or do you see bits of clouds that held the rain? Do you see the rain that fell from these clouds and which watered the soil, or the warmth of the sun that helped the trees grow? Do you see the insects, organisms in the soil that distributed nutrient to the trees? Do you see the trees themselves, from which the sheet of paper was made, with its healthy mossy bark and green playful leaves? How about the golden wheat raised by a farmer in some remote village from which the bread was made – the same bread which gave strength and energy to the tree-cutter? Do you see the tree-cutter who felled the trees and the people who toiled hard to get that sheet to you?
I humbly receive.
You fold your hand and say Itadakimasu before you have your meal. In its simplest form, it is about showing respect to all the living beings and the processes that went to bring that dish of food to your table – the plants and animals that gave their lives, to the farmers, fisherfolks, vendors, cooks, your mother/father, hostess etc. who worked hard for that dish of food. At a deeper level, the essence of the word can be extended to almost anything that you receive – as an acknowledgment of the efforts of so many living beings, of gratitude and reflection, of the awareness that things should not be simply wasted.
You are Nature.
(As different from - you are part of Nature). Everything is Spirit. You are as connected to that single blade of grass that grows after the winter thaw in Siberia as you are to yourself. What you do now can have an impact four generations later perhaps in Australia. At this very moment, you are present as much in the past as you are in the future. Your ordinary world or reality is as much of an illusion as you think the non-ordinary reality is an illusion.
|Element: Fire (Ink doodling by me)|
This post is an expression of the deep gratitude that I feel for the city of Mumbai, where I have spent eleven uncommon years (boring by ordinary reality standards!) so far. Looking back over the years – from the time I landed at the Mumbai airport on a rain-soaked day, till today, when I am hunched over my laptop waiting for the rains to soak the city again – it’s been an amazing tapestry of inter-woven incidents and inter-connectedness of people and places. I have learnt two important lessons here: one, to stop controlling and going with the flow of life, wherever life decides to take me; two, to learn to say yes to everything that life brings to your doorstep (atleast to all that your intuition/body does not outrightly negate) – from rejections (gracefully accept them) to opportunities which appear totally unconnected at first.
The city has given me the much-needed space to learn these at my own pace, and much more.
And to the future that it intends to bring, I say Itadakimasu.
* this example of inter-being has been given by Thich Nhat Hanh, though the words have been embellished by me