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Awakening Our Humanity

by Pierre Zimmerman

We need to awaken our sense of common humanity now more so than ever. The world is populated by more than 7 billion people, and that has doubled in the last century. The global climate has unpredictable, creating lethal conflicts over dwindling resources. The digital age has fostered rapid changes that are confusing to many and challenge traditional patterns of living.

Both individual and collective strategies are needed to safeguard our basic humanity, because when ethical standards and transparency are ignored, we are in trouble as world citizens. Instant gratification for a few at the expense of many because of greed and prejudice create an imbalance and tremendous suffering, threatening everyone’s higher needs. Information and data are valued more today than ever before and support our connection with each other, but intelligence without consciousness threatens our basic humanity. We need to discern how the information flow benefits us or creates more harm, and whether we can respond to change with compassion instead of reacting from a place of fear.

The Buddhist story of Indra’s Net reflects this. Indra, king of the gods, once asked his royal architect to create an appropriate monument to his greatness. The architect created an immense net that extended throughout space and time. At each point of the net that the threads crossed, a priceless diamond was placed. There are many diamonds, and each one is reflected in the other’s diamonds in the net, so the process of reflection is infinite and all-encompassing.

Indra’s Net is the representation of our intimate inter-being and relationship among all. A change in one diamond means a slight change in every other. The net reflects and inspires us to work on local, regional and global levels by honoring the oneness of life, our luminosity and vividness and the interconnectedness of the entire universe.

Pierre Zimmerman, MS, is the director of One Big Roof, a center for mindful practices for One Roof Holistic Health Center, and an instructor with the Saratoga Stress Reduction Program. For more information, visit OneRoofSaratoga.com.