We are enmeshed in this interconnected body of living beings.

“The foundation of this training is seeing that ourselves and others are totally equal in wanting happiness and wishing to avoid any and all kinds of suffering. We contemplate this deeply and repeatedly, not just saying the words at an intellectual level, but bringing them into our heart. In this way, we train our mind/heart so that every time we see any living being—no matter who they are, whether we like them or not—our spontaneous awareness is “This living being is exactly like me. The most important thing for him or her is happiness and avoiding suffering.

Recognizing this, I understand something very important, very intimate about others. We are indeed interconnected.” Even if we’ve never met someone, we know that this is how that person feels. Even animals and insects have happiness and the eradication of misery as the most important purposes of their lives.

When we continually train our mind to see everyone in this way, we no longer feel alienated. Instead, we feel and know that we are enmeshed in this interconnected body of living beings. We belong, we understand others, and they can understand us. Our actions affect them; we are not isolated, walled-in units, but part of the whole of living beings throughout this universe. Our problems are not unique and hopeless. We can reach out to help other beings and to contribute to their happiness, even in small ways that become deeply meaningful. We allow ourselves to receive others’ affection and aid. Our life has purpose.”

Thubten Chodron.


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