Interconnectedness in Buddhism

“The quandary of the human condition is not that we are connected to too small an object and need to connect instead to a larger object. Rather it is that the very mechanism of connectivity—attachment—is inherently a cause of suffering.” Andrew Olendzki, Unlimiting Mind, p. 107

I am reading this book and am fascinated by it. This guy has thought things through to a level I have seldom encountered.

As a former Christian, I know what it is like to attach myself to larger and larger objects, in a sense “trading up.” The object isn’t the issue, the emotional dependency is. To let go of the object is to let go of all it represents and all of its systems, hierarchies, and necessary emotional regressions. Can I ever be a Christian again? I have no idea. What I do know is that church is this big ball of unhealthy interconnections that I have no possibility of ever untangling while still in Michigan. I will have to move to make progress on this issue.

Much of Buddhism is process-thinking oriented, as he says in the same chapter. I love that. He doesn’t like the term “interconnected.” He proposes “internonattachedness.” He says, “I think the Buddha was pointing a way out of all of this, but it is not through getting further connected. It has more to do with getting less connected, less entangled, and less attached.”

I totally agree with him about becoming less entangled and attached. I don’t see interconnectedness as a good or bad thing, just as reality. You push a button here and something pops up over there. We are all interconnected with each other and everything else, whether we want to be or not. I see the Buddhist emphasis on letting go of everything, including and especially thoughts, to be the necessary action of all those who wish to be sane today. Meditation helps one to stop the process of “A leads to B leads to C leads to…” of thought.

People are held captive by their never-ending desires for one thing and then another. Meditation examines the process of desire itself. By letting go of that thought stream, we are free to deliberately pick and choose what we think about. We can choose the processes that lead to outcomes we would rather have. And abandon those processes that give us results that we don’t want.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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