There Is No End to Connectedness

Steindl RastFrom Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast in an Onbeing interview with Krista Tippett (January 2016):

I remember, the grace that Buddhists pray before a meal starts with the words, “Innumerable beings brought us this food. We should know how it comes to us.” And when you put that into practice and look at what’s there at your table, on your plate, there is no end to connectedness. In the end, for instance, most people don’t think of it, but in the end, we always eat earth. We eat earth. Not in an abstract way, in a very concrete way. This humus is what we eat, or crystals when we eat salt, it’s pretty obvious that comes out of the earth. That’s earth, directly.

When we eat vegetables, well, the vegetables were nourished by all the nutrients in the earth, and then now we eat them, or the fruits of these plants. If you eat meat or fish, then they were nourished by vegetables, and they were nourished by the earth. Always comes back to earth. But that is only one aspect. Most of it was grown, so people had to work on sowing it, and harvesting it, packaging it, transporting it. There you have already a couple of thousand people whom you will never see, never know by name, never meet, and yet without them, there wouldn’t be anything on your plate. There’s this wonderful cartoon where the family sits at Thanksgiving around the table and says, “Thank you, Jesus.” And then in a cloud comes a farm worker, whose name happens to be Jesus, like the Mexican farm workers.

3 thoughts on “There Is No End to Connectedness

  1. We are similar to a superorganism. I see our cooperative nature from my perspective as a beekeeper in the almonds. Every spring the almond orchards in California need beehives to pollinate the blossoms. We each specialize in our trades, the almond growers, the irrigation and farm supply specialists, the migratory pollinating beekeepers, the people in the oil companies that fuel the trucks to get the bees to the orchards. People make the trucks from steel so miners dig iron ore in Australia or Brazil and someone navigates ships to China where the ore is made into steel. Mechanics, the tire producer and flat tire fixer all help. Many people who don’t know each other contributed to make the clothes, the forklift, the gum the truck driver chews and the coffee she drinks. Someone distributes the almonds, someone made the bricks and copper wire the almond warehouse is made of. Thousands of people over the entire globe cooperate to produce the almonds in California. I Pencil (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYO3tOqDISE ). We all benefit from this amazing web of international cooperation. If you think you are independent try to make your own shirt (grow the cotton, clean the fiber, spin it into thread and weave it into cloth, cut, sew, buttons?). We are each, on our particular path, all tangled up in many webs of international and interspecies cooperation. Anything any of us does is connected to everything all of us do. We are all rising or falling together.

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