Friday, January 23, 2004

The Tree and the Candle

Here's a poetic interlude on mutualism from 'Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory' from Joanna Macy. The passage is the last in the book, and builds on the centrality of both trees and flames in global religion as expressions of interdependence, connectedness - which symbolise the social self and the indivisibility and mind and matter.

"As ephemeral as flame, we are inter-related as parts of a tree, part of a single, open system, out of whose interweaving relationships we cannot fall, for we are they. By virtue of our very transcendance, we can sense our interconnections and let the knowing and the caring they permit take root and branch through us.

As the Buddha's teachings attest, the realization of both transiency and relationship breaks down the walls of ego; freeing us from that anxious cell, it releases the heart to loving kindness, the will to self-restraint and sharing.

And the mind, that conditioned and co-arising flame, seeks then not to flee its interdependence with all phenomena, but rather opens in awareness and joy to that of which it is indissoluably a part.