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Living in Harmony... Awareness of Interdependence

by Libbie Kerr

Harmony is the constant interplay of interdependence, changing and shifting with the moment. Nature shows us this. A tall tree bends to the wind, the shoreline shifts with the currents and the birds migrate. Yet in our lives, responsiveness to the moment is often lacking. We mentally disconnect from the moment to moment interdependence of the world; we disconnect our lives from the whole and no longer naturally participate with the world, humanity and, in many ways, ourselves. We experience this as a lack of balance and harmony.

Our meditations bring us to this moment, our conscious breathing awakens a balance and we have moments in the midst of activity where our reflective self grasps the moment and connects to this interplay. We are in the moment. How do we extend these moments beyond the meditation and bring this awareness of our interdependence into the world?

Jorge Waxemberg, in Words Matter* (p. 5), offers "exercises of stopping as a way of working." He says:

"We can also call them exercises for living in harmony, because they teach us to consider and appreciate those who are kind enough to listen to us. Our close relationships will greatly benefit from our practice of these exercises."

To consider and appreciate those kind enough to listen to us "helps us to stop the impulse that compels us to talk without thinking or considering how our words will affect others." It means we are in the moment of action: we consciously choose to appreciate the one willing to listen.

Aware of the listener, we become more aware and responsive to our own reactions.

"When we feel a surge of impatience at what someone says or does, we can try out this exercise:

  • Refrain from graceless gestures and disparaging words
  • Use friendly gestures and words."  (p. 42):

This action transmutes our defensiveness. It opens up conversation and the connection between us. Jorge Waxemberg suggests that though the exercise may be difficult at first, after a short time of practicing it, the change will be easier to achieve. 

Libbie's message to the reader: Thank you for reading. I was aware of you with every word!

* PDF version of "Words Matter"