Freedom from (Self Inquiry), Freedom to (Loving Kindness)
‘You may look at a flower and think that it exists in itself independently, but this is not true. Try to think of that flower without the soil from which it grows, without the sunlight that helps it grow and illuminates it, without the very space in which it stands, or without the particular time in which it is there. Suddenly you no longer have a flower at all.’ – Thich Nhat Hahn
Kevin: The Buddhist philosophy of Interconnectedness – Dependent origination, or conditioned co-arising, etc (there are many ways to describe it) suggests that everything that arises – from the phenomenal world to thoughts and emotions – is dependent on conditions (like TNH’s flower) and is therefor empty of any inherent, independent existence of its own. But this ‘emptiness’ isn’t nihilism (that would be projecting inherent ‘somethingness’ onto emptiness), but can actually be experienced as deeply freeing and fulfilling. Tonight’s group practice will explore that possibility. We’ll go looking for Interconnectedness/Emptiness – NOT as a belief or philosophy – but as an experience that might be glimpsed if we get a glimpse of having freedom from the limitations of being stuck in a presumed ‘self’. And from there, we’ll explore how freedom from ‘self’ might catalyze a freedom to cultivate and express love, empathy, compassion, joy to the people and world around us.
If this sounds like a lot to chew through, don’t worry; it’ll be fun! I swear.