9-3-23 Embrace Dependence

Embrace Dependence

We are all dependent.

In the past, we became dependent, addicted, to a substance or a behavior. This brought pain to us and others, and a sense of disconnection and isolation.

We need to embrace our natural dependences, which is a far cry from an addiction. Our natural dependences are our inter-being with each other, the world and our natural state of stability, joy and worthiness. We need to learn to depend on the healthy aspects that just are, and quit feeling a dependence on, and a promotion of our egos.

To consider only ourselves means our arms are closed around ourselves; a tight, narrow clinging based in fear. Excluding others and embracing only ourselves squeezes the warmth and softness out of our hearts. We are left with a hard, cold heart that suffers because of our isolation. We are learning to open our arms and widen our embrace to include and encompass ourselves, others and our world. As we become more aware of what causes distress or happiness in ourselves, we begin to genuinely feel the distress or happiness of others, we open up. 

Dependence and responsibility go hand in hand; as a society, we are dependent on each other. We have a responsibility to touch into our innate goodness, to come from that foundation of loving kindness and compassion, and then live and promote those qualities for the benefit of others and ourselves. We are responsible for our thoughts and actions, and responsible for being a positive part of our society. Since we are dependent on others for all we have physically, and a sense of community and a healthy society, that dependence needs to be reflected in how responsible we are for the caretaking our things, our world and our relationships.

We are not Saints, and should not expect to always be loving and kind. We have walked a long road filled with established destructive or selfish behaviors. We need to become aware of how these behaviors have disengaged us from a connection to our spiritual self, from others, and the world. We must work slowly but continuously on re-affirming our ability to embrace ourselves and   others a step at a time. But we do need to work on it diligently, every day.

Thich Nhat Hahn calls this dependence inter-being. Nothing can exist by itself alone. It has to depend on every other thing. To be means to Inter-be. “If we light one candle, and then light a thousand more candles from that one, the first candle is not diminished.”

“Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…When all else failed work with another alcoholic saved the day.” Big Book –  AA

“When we practice generating compassion we can expect to experience our fear and pain. The trick is to relax and move gently towards what scares us. To let fear soften us, rather than harden into resistance. To recognize our shared humanity. We are not separate, we are not alone.” Pema Chodron

Can you feel when you withdraw, when you pull your arms in so as to not embrace others, to be only concerned with your small self? It feels very closed and confusing. We cannot think our way out of our pain? We need to be able to touch, with our hearts, into our Basic Goodness. To have a program, a discipline, practices, to replace old behaviors with new healthy ways that we follow to keep us in touch with our larger self, (which includes others.). We need to remind ourselves to soften, and see the pain of others many times every day. You are not responsible for someone else, but you are responsible for what you bring to others that will affect them, as well as yourself.

“During the moment one is consulting, resolving, and dealing with whatever arises, a calm heart and self-control are necessary, if one is to obtain good results.” Thich Nhat Hahn 

We respect ourselves and will not permit others to disrespect us. In regards to responding to disrespect, we need to rely on our wisdom and honesty, coupled with compassion; not an angry response or a retreat from fear. We can say how it makes us feel, not what the other person should or should not do. Consider first, how the other person may be feeling; have you ever had a bad day? Not to engage in an argument or force your way, but, if needed, speak honestly, KINDLY, and then let it go.  A non-response often speakes loudly enough. It is always good to take a breath before you respond to a situation. This gives you the opportunity to feel the tightness of self, and to expand to include others and yourself in a larger space. Always consider the other person first, not your ego.

Begin the day, as soon as you wake up, by giving thanks. Be grateful for: your bed, your shoes, the food you will soon have, your toothbrush, the sun, the clouds. How many other people were involved in the making of and bringing to you, any of those things? Be grateful to them, feel connected and a part of it all. Find 3 things to be grateful for before your mind begins judging and condemning. You need to feel as worthy and as happy as you can. You are dependent and  responsible for feeling that inter-being. You are a worthy and good person! Live like you are, and it will come to pass that you are.

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body and your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.

With this Breath I am Present – Calm – Open.

Use the Present, Calm and Open Breathing technique when you catch yourself engaging in the endless blather the mind has gotten used to entertaining itself with. Or when other thoughts or emotions are ruling the present moment. Sit or stand in an upright manner, do not slouch. Head up, heart center open. Feel your dependence, your connection.             

 3 Breath version of calming.

1 – Breathe in deeply:I Am Present. Breathe out Presence. 3 times.

2 – Breathe in deeply: I Am Calm. Breathe out Calmness. 3 times.

3 – Breathe in deeply: I am Open. Breathe out Openness. 3 times.

If you don’t do something different, not much will change.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.