Being mindful and our respect for interdependence are two of life's experiences of paramount importance. However it calls for strong inner purposefulness and will power to practise. Here, young learners explore this dual conundrum
Exploring mindfulness and interdependence
Mindfulness is all about being aware of what is happening right now without thinking about the past or the future. It is about being real and awakened to everything. Through it, we master and let go of our ego. Mindfulness seems to increase emotional intelligence which improves our social skills. It brings awareness of the interdependent nature of our existence and helps to provide a meaningful connection to the universe and ourselves.
Interdependence is all about knowing that our mind and body are not separate from all that is around us. While being independent is important for our survival, we cannot function without being interdependent. Interdependence is a necessary and healthy part of our physical, mental and emotional development.
Human existence is interdependent. Every living being is dependent upon each other for its existence. Not only is each part of the human body dependant on the other for the overall health of the body, interdependence also exists on a broader scale between humans, animals and plants. We inhale oxygen from plants and trees, they inhale carbon dioxide that we exhale. Besides, there are so many other living beings breathing in and out like us and sharing the same air.
Barriers on the way
What comes in the way of being mindful about interdependence is our Ego. Here we need to realize that ego in itself is not harmful; it is our attitude to it that causes us harm. It is similar to our association with money. Money gives us power; power to do good or bad. It is we who choose between the two options and make decisions.
It thus becomes critical to strike the right balance between ego and interdependence. Excess of ego can lead to narcissism while too much of interdependence can provoke one to become a sycophant, or a tendency to appease another to curry favour. It is important to maintain a proper balance between the two.
Ever since birth, we get gradually conditioned to do things for our own selves. We have caged ourselves and our lives into self-centred beings, isolating ourselves from the surrounding world each day. Especially during the past two years of quarantine, we had isolated ourselves so much that it surely took us a while to readjust ourselves into the society and world.
The culminating point identified
The purpose of human existence is to lead a happy and fulfilled life. We may achieve our biggest goal, but not attain happiness. By being mindful of our ego, by neither ignoring nor isolating our ego but balancing it with interdependence can give us the real mantra for leading a happy, healthy and contented life.
About the authors
The article has been contributed by the following students from St. Joseph’s High School, Matigara, Darjeeling: Debopama Bhattacharjee, Samraggi Dutta, Shreyashi Bhowmick, Yamini Daraad and Aratrika Narayan.