After listening to Lama Gursam speak on the famous Buddhist Heart Sutra, I marvel how wisdom is re-taught and re-learned over and over and over again.
For the last 9 months, I and a small group of friends have studied the concepts embedded in Charles Eisenstein’s 2010 book Sacred Economics. Sacred Economics demystifies the current economic system which is based on a story of separateness. The story of separateness allows us to depersonalize our decisions, to perpetuate social and economic divides, and to monetize almost every service imaginable.
When we buy into the story of separateness, we give credence to the myths that “more is better” and “resources are infinite.” These beliefs allow us to ignore and to minimize the impact of our actions and often leave us feeling lack or not enough. It is an intolerable way to feel and often encourages us to seek, if not immediate gratification, then a way to anesthetize our pain.
The alternative, and I would argue the only viable solution, is to change our story from one of separateness to one of interdependence. Eisenstein argues, quite effectively, that human survival necessitates we recognize we are in relationship with each other and with our environment. When we embrace our interdependence, then the human economy, according to Eisenstein, will…
call the forth the gifts of each of us; it will emphasize cooperation over competition; it will encourage circulation over hoarding; and it will be cyclical, not linear. (p.17)
Eisenstein’s message mimics the message of the Buddha as illustrated in the Heart Sutra: a famous text in which a noble bodhisattva (enlightened teacher), Avalokitesvara, offers a practice or strategy for those who seek perfect wisdom.
The practice of perfect wisdom, says Avalokitesvara, will remove any mental blocks as well as fear, and consequently, the practitioner will awaken to the ultimate reality and be free of all suffering.
Sounds good, right? Ready for the practice of perfect wisdom? Ready to be free of all suffering?
The secret to waking up, the secret to perfect wisdom, is to recognize that everything is dependent on everything.
The soil, the seed, the rock, the bird, the tree, the sun, the air, the water, the table, the chair, the neighbor, the clerk, the computer, the tomato, the book, you and me: everything is interconnected. There is not one thing in this universe we are not connected to, and therefore, there is not one thing in this universe we do not impact. Our very perceptions, feelings, and consciousness are comprised of many aspects, so many in fact, that we may never completely understand how interconnected we are.
Wisdom, therefore, is about being open to our interdependence – to seeing the interconnectedness between ourselves and the world around us. When we permanently hold onto the belief that we are an independent agent, we actually increase our own suffering.
The practice of perfect wisdom is to relax and to be receptive to our connections.
How would our economy, our homes, our schools, our businesses, our world be different if we all acknowledged our interdependency? I can only imagine which is why I invite you to dream with me: to change the story of separateness to the story of connection.
Take the first step and challenge your assumptions. Reflect on all the events, people, and circumstances that had to happen just to get that carrot on your plate or that shirt on your back. Notice how a simple gesture impacts the people around you. Be conscious of how you spend your money, where you put your trash and how you speak to others. Tell the story of connection and call the forth the gifts of others.
If you would like to share your story, please, comment below.
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