We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness – Thich Nhat Hanh (Buddhist monk and peace activist)
“The west” has always struggled with this. We tend to compartmentalize everything and think in terms of the parts rather than the whole. Even our concept of God, until very recently, made “him” into a more or less conventional human being, writ large, but somewhere “up there” rather than “with us”. We’ve been more comfortable with the reasoning of Greek philosophy – and a God who was more like Zeus than Emmanuel – than the spirituality of mystical belief.
Unfortunately, one of the consequences of this approach is that without seeing all things as interconnected we have little incentive to value anything that doesn’t clearly impact us directly and immediately. We’ve known for years, for example, that the climate was changing. But it wasn’t until the wind and waves were destroying our homes, until the winters became wilder outside our windows, until the summers began to kill us with heat, that we noticed.
Let’s hope, however, now that we have noticed, now that we can’t avoid noticing, that we’ll look around us and recognize , as Thich Nhat Hahn suggests, that its time to awaken to the interconnectedness of all things.