The True Meaning of Interdependence:
While I am not naive as to what is meant culturally when we celebrate Independence, I am increasingly unable to let the word slide by in conversation, or in long-commercialized holiday celebrations.
Our fundamental reality is that we are NOT independent. We are intimately entwined to multitudes of forces on which we rely for our most basic existence. Even if we only accept what we see with the obvious eye, we can not deny our dependence on the intelligence of nature, of which we, too, are an expression.
Earthen richness to grow the plant materials on which we depend (whether it’s kale, potatoes for chips, or marijuana for CBD).
Water to hydrate, bathe, or brew coffee.
Fire for the warmth of the sun and the ripening of fruits on the vine.
Air for the precious exchange between us and the plant life on which we depend.
Our bodies, temporary and finite as they are, are described through yoga and Ayurveda as being comprised of these 5 elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether.
The density of muscles and bones;
the fluids the myofacial and organ systems, circulation, hydration of eyes, nose, joints, and more;
the fire that supports our metabolic processes;
the air we breathe;
and the most subtle form, ether, infusing the spaces.
The next time you practice savasana I encourage you to try on this mantra:
Earth returns to earth.
Water returns to water.
Fire returns to fire.
Air returns to air.
Ether returns to ether.
I am only being loaned these elements as a grace through which I might live,
and love, and serve,
and express gratitude.
Since this holiday is intended as a celebration, I’ll reserve my further reflections on our ecological dependence (and our dilemma) for now. I know people are accustomed to shorter attention spans and we sometimes wince when a newsletter or an email asks more of us than we can digest in one sitting.
While I could elaborate on brain science and our survival impulses many of you have already heard discussions on this or have read other writings.
Today, may we consider these interdependences:
Freedom, Not Independence
Perhaps a pursuit worthy of more commitment than independence is Freedom:
Yoga teaches us that it is possible, through skillful means, dedicated effort, and non-attachment, to become free from that which binds us. The more of us dedicated to this freedom, the more loving, conscious, intimate, and wisely interdependent our communities, and our world can become.