What is Interbeing?

One of the quintessential insights of the mystics through the centuries is that the entire cosmos is Interbeing—all beings are embedded in webs of relationship that are interconnected, interdependent, intersubjective, and constantly being co-created and reinvented. Interbeing incorporates our relationships, and also our collective religious and spiritual inheritance, the whole of humanity, creation, and the cosmos. It extends to the suffering of the planet, wounding of the soul, and violence caused by religious superiority, national self-interest, poverty, homelessness, starvation, and war. Interbeing is a fundamental attribute of consciousness.

Interbeing is living with higher consciousness of a reality where human beings inter-are with all of reality, a deep recognition that our presence brings about the full presence of all life. Interbeing is when, and where, we step into a circle dance of the continuous outpouring of Love, because Love is the nature of who we are, who we inter-are. “God is a process rather than a clear name or idea, a communion, Interbeing itself and never an isolated deity that can be captured by our mind” (Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self).  Julian of Norwich says, “Greatly are we to rejoice that God dwells in our souls, and more greatly are we to rejoice that our soul dwells in God. Our soul is created to be God’s dwelling place, and the dwelling of our soul is God.” This we can now call interbeing, or life as participation.

Interbeing refers to the fact that as human beings we cannot exist by ourselves alone, we can only inter-be. Healing can happen in a relationship between human beings. Interbeing refers to the art of knowing how to love, and understanding is love’s other name. To love means to fully understand the other’s suffering and understanding is the best gift one can give to another person. When we accept others just as they are, they have a chance to transform.

The divine, Divine Love, reveals the dynamism of Ultimate Reality as interabiding oneness; Lover, Beloved, and Love. The dynamism of the real is the indivisible expression of the mode of beingness and pure relationality. Only your soul understands itself as radical relatedness. The soul knows that we are all good with one another’s goodness and separate with one another’s separateness. Love means abide in me as I in you. Love means as you are in me and I am in you, they also in us. Love means I in them and you in me, they may be completely one. The dynamism of Love is ultimate, real, and pure relationship…inter-interdependence… inter-abiding oneness… We Inter-are!

“I am the vine, you are the branches; abide in me as I in you” (John 15:4); “As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us. . . . I in them and you in me, that they may be completely one” (John 17:21-23).

Our full presence brings about the full presence of life, of the environment. What I would like to say here is that our mind and our body inter-are, they do not exist separately as two entities. The first fact we would like to make is to look deeply into the nature of our body and of our mind. We’ll find out that their nature is the nature of inter-being. The mind cannot be there without body and the body cannot be there without mind… ~Thich Nhat Hahn

It is our sincere aspiration to live in harmony with this land, with all the vegetation and animals living here, and with all our brothers and sisters with whom we live and practice. When we are in harmony with each other, we are also in harmony with the land, with the plants and animals. We see our close relationship with every person and every species. The happiness and suffering of all humans and all other species is our own happiness and suffering. We inter-are. As practitioners we see we are part of and not separate from the whole of human civilization. As human beings we see that we are children of the Earth and not separate from the soil, the forests, rivers and sky. We share the same destiny. ~Thich Nhat Hahn

Video: A Story of Interbeing




The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the door sill
where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep!
― Rumi