Approaching life through expectations is like approaching a waterfall with a broken bowl, no matter how much comes in, we would not be filling up. We have the opportunity to embrace life fully, by simply being here and now, becoming a conduit of abundance rather than a limited container.
One afternoon, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, Shōgun of the Ashikaga Province who ruled Japan during the second half of the 15th century, was about to drink tea in his favorite ceramic bowl. He had had it brought from China and used it only on very special occasions. Inadvertently, the bowl slipped from his hands and fell to the ground, breaking into many fragments. Yoshimasa was not willing to lose his favorite bowl nor did he want an identical one; he wanted to recover the original, so it occurred to him that since the piece had been made in China, perhaps the Chinese artisans could repair it to be usable once again.
His disappointment was as tremendous as his annoyance was unrestrained when he realized that his cherished bowl had been fixed with some sort of staples that were unpleasant to the eye, with cracks that prevented the artifact from containing the tea. He then insisted that his servants search all over Japan for an artisan capable of properly restoring the original piece.
Far away from there, in a small village, lived the old Hayato, a hermit artisan dedicated to manufacturing ceramic objects, who had a reputation for making beautiful creations of such strength and durability that they rarely broke, even if they fell to the ground. Hayato accepted the assignment without knowing for sure how he would achieve it. He just trusted that his talents and gifts would support him to accomplish the task at hand.
After three months, the craftsman returned with the Shogun and said: “I have reconstructed your bowl, guided by the scars, my own as well as those of the pottery. What has been broken can not return to its original state, for the accident transforms it. It is then that resurgence is necessary; not from the lamenting over the fractures but from the acceptance of the wounds. All things carry their history in each crevice; a story that beautifies when shown, instead of hidden. Here it is, Yoshimasa, a bowl of tea that has resurfaced from the pains that the previous one shattered.” Thereupon, Hayako handed the bowl to the Shōgun, a bowl whose pieces were joined with rivers of gold that made visible the lines where the original was broken. This art of repairing ceramics with gold, much like a gold “carpentry” if you will, is called Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi.
I mention this story here, because each one of us is part of the same whole. Even if the game of perception allures us to see ourselves as broken, and consequently act as if we need to repair ourselves, in reality we are multidimensional and infinitely dynamic in our essential nature; we are members of the Great Collective.
Just as we have the mind, the emotions and the physical body, so we have our independent and interdependent selves. Both are rivers in which our consciousness flows through our life force.
When we speak of interdependence, we talk about participating with ourselves, absolutely individual, yet aware that we are intimately linked and aligned with our collective, and that we are part of the whole; whether in associations, relationships, families, workplaces, religious communities or any various human groups. Regardless of the collection of people we are a part of, it is important to be aware that our health and individual abundance nourish the rhythm and balance of our team; the balance and rhythm that we find in the breath, in the simplicity of expansion and contraction. It’s the same rhythm that determines the experience of well-being, health, and abundance of the collective in all levels.
Interdependence is the original and authentic essence of our human nature. A reality where we are much more than what we perceive with our five senses. It is the way to participate in human sustainability. We are being interdependent when we take care of ourselves in the heart that beats within us, as well as in the heart of our neighbor. It is exactly the same: we are part of a great image. Each human being is part of this great image; we are part of a great family, we form a great organism that participates through the same heart beat.
In the eternal, cosmic, divine, and limited human experience, interdependence works to integrate what we disintegrate, to accept what we resist, to forgive the unforgivable. Ultimately, to heal inside our consciousness with golden threads, reconciling and forgiving all the echoes of what was and what is not. To be the golden threads in our experiences of interdependence, and to align ourselves with the life force within them so that we flow towards everything and everyone from it. The return of the prodigal son, returning to belonging, to the absolute, while participating individually in our portion of the great vessel. We are one of the many pieces, and at the same time we are unique and necessary to make up that whole.
To be complete, the great human bowl requires each one of us. Our responsibility, our awareness, and above all our willingness, are those golden threads capable of linking us a thousand times. If there is willingness, the scars and wounds become windows and tunnels to travel in time, to heal and to integrate. That is the theme of this game of BEING HUMAN; we are made to always return to that whole, to be present here and now.
In the awareness of my interdependent being, I am a neutral observer totally present, not from my character, but from my individuality; from my space in the universe, here and now, allowing everything to inform me, to expand my consciousness and to ignite my unique abilities to respond and participate in all the levels of my existence. I AM HERE NOW taking my place in the universe, no more, no less.