Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Independence Is an Illusion

Rhododentrol - Indepdence postIndependence is an illusion. Every moment of your life depends upon the kindness of others and a healthy, abundant environment.

Your birth depended upon your parents.

The food you eat depends upon the earthworms that create compost; a flow of raindrops and the warm sun in the sky; the bees that pollinate plants; the farmer that tilled and toiled; the driver that delivered the produce to market; the seller who offered the goods; There’s the shopper, the cook, and the dishwasher too.

There’s all the beings that gave their lives to bring you a meal. The insects and pests killed with synthetic or organic pesticides. The third-world workers drinking in toxic fumes to bring you special, exotic foods. And that’s not even touching upon the actual beings you decide to eat.

The net of interdependence just goes on and on.

Were you to live alone on an island, you would still need water and food to survive. And, due to the winds, you still would not be immune to Fukushima radiation, the great folly of men.

You can’t escape interdependence.  It’s foolish to think you are on your own.

There’s not a single thing that blossoms on its own.

So please, never think for a moment that you are independent or separate. Instead, see interdependence. Love one, love all.

Thank you for reading and sharing!  If you enjoyed this article please subscribe for free updates by email.  With love, Sandra


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  1. So true. Be alone does not me we are lonely, just that we’ve chosen to take time to ourselves, at which point we can begin to recognize all that touches our world, creating each wonderful moment.

  2. I so fully agree, Dean. Being alone can be so enriching but it doesn’t mean we are independent of others or the environment. Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Greetings Sandra!

    I so appreciate the juxtaposition of this post and holiday. Thank you.

    I like thinking about interdependence so much. I learned from my American Indian and Alaska Native friends of being able to reach toward our ancestors and what came before us in order to give gratitude for today. It doesn’t detract from the present moment but seems to ground it for me.

    I also love thinking of the interdependence and the weaving of so much life’s energy toward any piece of food I place in my mouth. It makes me smile.

    Happy Interdependence Day to you!!

    • Susie,

      I love the beautiful way you weave interdependence into reflections that ground you in the earth and this moment and bring great joy. Smiles, yes! Thanks for the beautiful view.

  4. I just gotten through reading a book about the Amazon rain forest. It really makes one aware of the necessary interdependency between all living organisms that inhabit the earth. Have a good 4th Sandra.

  5. So true! Thank you for the poignant reminders on this Independence Day. Maybe we need an Interdependence Day, ya think?

  6. Thanks for Interdependence as someone who likes to be and is independent and always has prided myself on that, I find you post both inspiring and for me questioning. Being independent can be seen as a quality, a need, a value- I really get what you are saying on interdependence and I still like being free and living in a free society which is what for me being independent means. For me it doesn’t mean being alone, it doe mean being free….. thanks for the brain gym this morning 🙂

    • Hi there,

      I like your questioning! It seems it all depends on how we understand and use the word. I too value independence in the form of self-sufficiency and taking responsibility. And the word certainly means being self-governing.

      Nevertheless, I don’t think we can ever be fully independent because we are fundamentally interdependent.

      I also would not want to live under an oppressive regime and appreciate being physically free in that sense. But if I did live under oppression, would I be like Aung Sang Su Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Victor Frankl, or Martin Luther King, Jr.? Would my mind and spirit still be free? Probably not, but that would be my aspiration. There are plenty of people who are physically free and live in free societies who are enslaved by their thoughts and emotions. In my mind, the only true freedom is the inner freedom of mind.

      I think we agree that independent and self-reliance are great qualities. And we both feel grateful to live in a free society, there’s no question about that. We are very fortunate indeed. I think we probably agree more than disagree!

  7. Love this Independence Day post, Sandra! I’m ashamed to admit that I used to be way on the Ayn Rand side of things — be myself, do what I want at whatever cost to anyone else. I’ve since realized that not understanding how we are connected to the world around us is devastating for both the planet and ourselves. I had to memorize John Donne’s No Man is an Island essay for English class in high school. I scoffed at it then, but now I think he was a pretty smart guy.

    • Jennifer,

      I think almost all of us have been in the same spot, wittingly or unwittingly. The idea of independence is so embedded in Western culture. Interdependence is rarely taught as it might have been in other cultures. Yours is an inspiring example of how any of us can change and come to appreciate the natural connection that exists in this world and the devastation that occurs when we ignore it. It’s very heartening indeed! It does seem that John Donne had his pulse on reality!

  8. Ha! Great message for Independence Day!! So true, so true.

  9. What a great reminder to us all of how interconnected we are, and how much well really need each other. Especially helpful in our society where we overvalue individuality and independence.

  10. I have been backlogged and it was quite wonderful to come and read this excellent reminder of out interconnectdness and the conflict the Western view of indivualism is with reality. What praticulalry resonates for me as I do live on a very small island on the west coast of Canada was this:
    “Were you to live alone on an island, you would still need water and food to survive. And, due to the winds, you still would not be immune to Fukushima radiation, the great folly of men.”

    For me my connectedness to nature and learning to meditate helped me realize the interconnectedness of the mind, body and spirit. I also came to realize interdependence through reconizing “dependent origination” ie. that all phenomena in the universe exist within the context of mutually supportive relationships. I comprehend that my purpose here is to be an active participant in the compassionate workings of the universe. I’m training my mind so I can open my heart allow the compassion to flow to all and your post affirms this. Thank you.

  11. Hello timethief,

    Nature is such a wonderful teacher of interdependence! I appreciate how meditation is another means by which you’ve arrived at the understanding of interdependence and dependent origination. I’m inspired by your reflection and contemplation on this topic and how it brings you to training you mind so that compassion can flow freely.

    It’s wonderful to live in nature on a small island yet at the same time realize this deep level of interconnectedness. Thanks for your inspiring comment.

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