The daily sacred - greeting the day

“Buddhist teacher and author Thich Nhat Hanh puts it like this;

‘We have a word to ‘be’, but what I propose is a word to ‘inter-be’.

Because it’s not possible to be alone, by yourself. You need other people in order to be. Not only do you need a father, mother, but also an uncle, brother, sister, society. You need sunshine, rivers, air, trees, birds, elephants and so on. So it is impossible to be by yourself, alone. You have to inter-be with everyone and everything else, and therefore, to ‘be’ means to ‘inter-be’.

The word I use for inter-being is interconnectiveness. This is the word that Elder Murdena Marshall from the Mi’kmaq First Nation, brought forward in her profound work of helping weave greater understandings between the indigenous worldview and the mainstream scientific worldview. A vital component of the concept of interconnectiveness is that it is continually in process. This marks it as different from the description of being interconnected. ‘Interconnected’ can suggest that there is a fixed link between two (or more) beings.

Interconnective holds a different awareness that is active, and on-going. Let’s put it into a concrete example: You are always connected to a child of yours even when they are an adult, and that now adult child is always connected to you. This can be through genes, and through the historical role of ‘parent’ or ‘child’. You are interconnected through these genetic and historical roles. However, it doesn’t mean that you are in active relationship with each other. If you and your child are estranged then the interconnected aspect of your relationship still exists; the genes and the historical role is still as it was, but there is