So I lead the gathering at It's All Good last night. Our topic was Interconnectedness. Here is what I prepared for the event, though I definitely did not stick entirely to it. I've also written some of the great comments and pieces of discussion from the night!
1. Begin with icebreaker: Name, and something about you that someone else might have in common with you.
2. Both quotes are about interconnectedness. Interconnected: we are part of everything and everything is part of us, we have a relationship with everything.
3. After reading the quotes, participants are invited to meditate on the quotes, to think deeply about how they are interdependent on the world.
4. Hand out a piece of paper to each participant before reading this quote. Have everyone hold it, touch it, feel it. Then read Quote 1, by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk: “Paper is made by clouds, there is a cloud in every piece of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. Without sunshine, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow without sunshine. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we can see wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. The logger’s father and mother are in it, too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.
5. Read the selection from Mary Oliver’s poem.
I don’t know who God is exactly. But I’ll tell you this.
I was sitting in the river named Clarion, on a water splashed stone and all afternoon I listened to the voices of the river talking. Whenever the water struck the stone it had something to say… Said the river: I am part of holiness.
And I too, said the stone. And I too, whispered the moss beneath the water…
If God exists he isn’t just butter and good luck
He’s also the tick that killed my wonderful dog Luke. Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going. Imagine how the lily (who may also be a part of God) would sing to you if it could sing, if you would pause to hear it…
If God exists he isn’t just churches and mathematics.
He’s the forest, He’s the desert. He’s the ice caps, that are dying…He’s the many desperate hands, cleaning and preparing their weapons. He’s every one of us, potentially.
Yes, it could be that I am a tiny piece of God, and each of you too, or at least of his intention and his hope…Of course for each of us, there is the daily life. Let us live it, gesture by gesture. When we cut the ripe melon, should we not give it thanks? And should we not thank the knife also? We do not live in a simple world.
6. Watch movie clips, I heart huckabees: 8:05-11:22., 1:30:27- 1:33:21.
a. Movie: Albert (Jason Schwartzman) is searching for the meaning of life, and his purpose in life. Hires existential detectives Vivian and Benard (Lily Tomlin and Dustun Hoffman). He ends up realizing that he connected to his enemy, Brad (Jude Law).
b. "Say this blanket represents all the matter and energy in the universe, okay? This is me, this is you, and this is Vivian And over here, this is the Eiffel Tower, right, it's Paris! And this is a war, and this is a museum, and this is a disease, and this is an orgasm, and this is a hammer"
"Everything is the same, even if it's different."
“We are all connected.”
"When you get the blanket thing you can relax because everything you could ever want or be you already have and are."
7. Ask participants, “How did these readings speak to you? What did the readings and movie have in common? What did you learn or see during this exercise? What do you think about these readings? Do you agree?
8. What unites humankind? What do we have in common with everyone? In what ways are we all connected?
a. Curiosity, united in brokenness, suffering, joy, common feelings, questioning meaning of life,
9. Invite group to think on the question: “Who and what are you dependent on for being here as you are in this very moment?” They can list people, things, events, plants, animals, technologies, ideas, political movements, etc. If groups get stuck, have them begin with what they are wearing, how it got to them and how it was made (they could write: clothing, factories, workers, cloth, sheep, farmers, weavers, department stores, cashiers, truck drivers, etc).
10. Why is it important to see the interconnectedness of everything? What is the big picture?” How does realizing this help us? Help others? Help the world? How does it change what we do and say and how we act? What does this mean for the choices we make every day? How might this change the change? Work, school, home, life, friends, enemies? For those of us at the BBQ last Thursday, how does this relate to what we did? This is why we do what we do! Because we are all connected.
11. After 10 minutes invite group to reflect on the term “spirituality” (our relationship to all of what they have written down) and these two statements about spirituality: “Spirituality is consciousness of infinite interrelatedness” and “spirituality is about how new relate to the miracle of life.” Discuss what spirituality means and how they can be “spiritual.”
12. Where was God working? What can we give thanks for today? Any a-ha moments? Any on-no moments? Do well? Do differently?
-depends on perspectve
-people ask- why did this bad thing happen to me? Why did God do this to me? what did we do wrong? OR why did this good thing happen to me? what did i do to deserve this? why do bad things happen to good people?
-we don't understand or accept the bad with the good.
-be able to accept in ourselves the good and the bad
-be thankful for the bad
-remember the joy, be thankful for the simple
-we are not conscious of the connectedness
-everything has a story, a history, make us think of the purpose in life
-we can't see spirituality
-spirituality can be intimidating, seems make-believe, scary, crazy
-feel spirituality in outdoors, inward, church/building, peaceful/calming, from God, comfortable, when helping people out, it's who I am when no one else is around, me with God, inner spirit
-accept that we are all different, not judge
-when one hurts, all hurt, and God hurts
-we all feel pain and joy: makes us connected