The dharma invites us to face ourselves fully. But through fear, we sometimes distract ourselves, over-fill ourselves, and hold onto external attachments, in order to avoid.…what? The illusion that we are separate and isolated manifests in ways conscious and unconscious, but over time practice reveals to us that it is simply the ego that fears surrendering to presence. Ego fears its own annihilation, which is liberation for the human heart.
Ironically, the root of the word “alone” is “all one.” It is by surrendering to the emptiness within that we remember wholeness. We remember relational intelligence, interconnection, and attunement with life by turning within, and learning to engage through wakefulness rather than habit.
In today’s world, there is a lot of conditioning that reinforces the myth of separation, and we see this through an epidemic of loneliness, competition, self-consciousness, othering (within and out), and superficial connection.
Some of the questions we can explore as practitioners include…
- How do we enable the myth of separation without being fully aware of it? And how do we dismantle this myth?
- How do we bring healing to the human experience of feeling alone or isolated?
- How does being with aloneness tenderize and open us more deeply to the inherent field of interconnection?
- How do the teachings of relational mindfulness ultimately teach us to live in greater reciprocity, cooperation, attunement, and love?
- And how is engaged interconnection and a relational immersion in life fundamental for our awakening?
The dharma is an invitation to redefine “power” from power over to power with or shared power. This kind of power comes only from being present and accessing the ability to give and receive love, moment by moment. Relational mindfulness teaches that our willingness to stay present and to be vulnerable are keys to cultivating more compassionate relationships.
Relational mindfulness teaches us to both witness and be witnessed in our vulnerability. Each time we sit on the meditation cushion, life asks us to meet yet another moment and another aspect of our human experience, with compassion. And our capacity to meet whatever arises with compassion organically extends out to how we meet others.
These teachings are inspired by Eden’s most recent book, Relational Mindfulness: A Handbook for Deepening Our Connection with Ourselves, Each Other, and Our World (Wisdom 2018).