Discussion Questions, Storytelling, Sharing

  • In this ecological world of interdependence, we are all on the same team and anything done for one is done for all. What experience, practice, or resource has recently deepened or nourished your sense of being part of a team?
  • Have you ever had a mystical experience when you felt the boundaries between you and the world dissolving and you were one with the universe? Where were you and what happened?

Imagery Exercise

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, uses the term "interbeing" to describe the interconnection of all creation. "When you touch one," he writes, "you touch many, and when you touch many, you touch one." Imagery is one way to know yourself as part of the multitudes. This exercise is based on Thich Nhat Hanh's description of eating a tangerine, found on p. 235 of Spiritual Literacy.

Breathe out three times. See yourself holding a round orange tangerine that changes into a blossom on a tree. Sense how the tree is bathed in the light of the golden sun and then covered with soft cool rain. Notice how the blossom becomes a small fruit that grows into the tangerine. See and smell the tangerine in your hand.

Breathe out one time. Imagine yourself peeling the tangerine and eating a piece of it, knowing that as you do so, you are being part of the sun, the rain, the tree, and all of the Creation. Then open your eyes.

Journal Exercises

  • One of the most common demonstrations of connections is the experience of a synchronicity or a meaningful coincidence, when we realize that two apparently random things have happened together for a purpose. It might be meeting someone at just the right moment, a dream that comes true in waking life, or a communication with the dead. Describe one of these experiences and assess its impact on your life's direction.
  • The butterfly effect is a term used to describe how an interconnected universe responds to particular actions; if a butterfly is hurt here, the effect is felt even in distant galaxies. Write about how one of your deeds might reverberate in a distant place.