Interbeing Project

Fall 2019: Pilot

The purpose of this project is to explore Thích Nhất Hạnh’s conception of the miracle of mindfulness and  interbeing. He conceptualized the term “interbeing” as a nondualistic way of defining the relationship between people and earth. This interdependent relationship between people and earth includes watering the seeds of kindness, hope, and compassion in ourselves and in the earth.

In this transnational project, people from Huế, Việt Nam  and from Pitzer College will take photos and discuss examples of the miracle of the present moment and interbeing. In doing so, we will learn about and compare these frameworks and co-create a global learning community.

Selected Photographs:

Evolving definitions:

After this project, I learned:

Next steps:

Pitzer College Facilitators: Professor: Dr. Kathleen S. Yep with Sarah Lynn Miralles (IDAAS CEC)

Huế Facilitators: Professor Cong Ho Dinh and Ngo Y Nhu

Interbeing Project: Evolving definitions

Dear Interbeing,

I notice you most when…

  • While I sit under the trees that are shedding their autumn leaves.
  • I mumble into the phone, “I’m okay, mom. I really am. Everything is fine.”
  • I go home and see my family pore over old photos from Vietnam strewn across the house, memories coming up when you least expect them to
  • I think of taking care of my grandmother—a family display of generational strength and love shifting over time, from birth to illness to death
  • I look up at the sky and see the clouds that move across the world, reminding me of the value of the vast Earth under my feet
  • I realize the importance of a healthy body mind and body when I am feeling unwell
  • an extreme emotion overtakes my rational thought
  • I am in a large group of people and we are all doing something individually, but related
  • I am on a long slow run processing the contents of my mind.
  • I take a moment to honestly answer how I’m doing.
  • I read my family’s WeChat group messages.
  • I turn myself away from distractions and just sit still and be with myself

Dear Interbeing,

Thank you for helping me to let go, heal, and transform my…

  • bitterness to become a more forgiving, gentler person than I was in the past.
  • emotional outbursts that would inevitably follow me after bottling up my feelings.
  • frustrations from feelings of helplessness into empowerment.
  • misunderstandings of the world around me and of myself.
  • anger at those who are unaware of the impact of their actions.
  • judgement of others when I don’t really know their story.
  • my urge to protect myself by building a wall.
  • my feelings of fear, anger, anxiety, and despair towards the future.
  • stress and tension in my body
  • disappointment in myself for all the times I am not mindful and act harmfully towards myself and other beings.
  • childhood and adult trauma.
  • voice.

Interbeing Project: Next steps

After this project, I aspire to…

  • take deep breaths more frequently
  • develop my own clear definition of interbeing
  • intertwine the materials that I have learned into my own daily life and the spaces that I work in
  • be just as forgiving to myself as I am towards other people
  • experience the world for what it is and not based upon how I’ve drawn and colored within its lines
  • embrace the wisdom that growth is never linear, never lonesome, and neverending
  • use interbeing to think about my daily actions
  • look beyond hegemonic cultures to learn more about interbeing and its applications
  • take care of my body and suffering
  • to relearn my native tongue in hopes it will reconnect me to my roots,
  • to learn my family history to better understand my ancestors,
  • to build reciprocal connections with the Tongva people and the Tongva land I am hosted on,
  • to appreciate the relationships I have to their fullest extent.
  • reduce unneeded consumption
  • stick to my practice even when leaving the umbrella/support of this class
  • be more reflective about my own practices and relationships.
  • spend intentional time each day with Mthat other Earth.
  • think more deeply about the ways in which I already am practicing interbeing.
  • explore interbeing more thoroughly with time.
  • remember that I am not alone in practicing mindfulness and interbeing.
  • to continue to see beauty in all things.

For all participants, I hope…

  • that our paths can cross again after this class is done.
  • that we can continue practicing mindfulness in our daily lives.
  • for moments of joy and inner and outer harmony.
  • that as we continue to love and help others, we can receive the same in kind
  • for grounding, acceptance, and peace within our own lives and our own communities.
  •  we accept and forgive ourselves for past mistakes,
    that the harm regretfully done to others can be opportunities for reflection and
    understanding for us to heal.
  • that we can think of each other from time to time, as figures of the present, not the past, and that we can smile when we do
  • that our pain and suffering can be recycled into nourishment, and
    we will allow ourselves to transform our pain, anger, and resentment into compost.

Interbeing Project: I learned…

(RC, EN)  DY (PDF) JC (PDF)

After this project on interbeing, I learned…

  • how to observe life around me mindfully without boundaries or reservations
  • that interbeing is connection, connection is mindfulness, mindfulness is interbeing
  • that in all my moments of suffering, I had forgotten I was a leaf, a flower, a part of a greater, deeply rooted whole
  •  that nature truly is loving and kind, that nature makes our interconnectedness easier to realize
  • that everything I feel and have ever felt is and was felt across time and space; the same energy, just manifested in different ways
  • that our afflictions are not our enemies, but parts about ourselves and our lives that we have yet to understand
  • through interbeing that my past and future are inextricably linked to my present
  • Everyone conceives of Interbeing differently and that is part of Interbeing
  • How we see a situation depends on the lens we use
  • A new way of thinking about the  natural environment
  • We can choose how we see and what something means
  • Even when we can’t change something, we can be mindful and mindfulness provides a way to move forward
  • That we tend to describe and interpret interbeing through a transactional lens i.e. the earth providing value to us and us to earth
  • that we can see inter-being in traditionally anthropocentric things and vice versa.
  • that Mother Earth has provided us with the simple conditions of happiness and livelihood
  • that interpersonal inter-being doesn’t have to be about responding to trauma or connecting the dots but can be simple recognition
  • other interpretations of interbeing
  • The same situation can be perceived in different ways.
  • Interbeing can come about in so many contexts, not just between people or between yourself and nature.
  • Intentions and impact are different, but both matter.
  • Interbeing is not some perfect state which we aspire to but never reach, rather, it is accessible in intention and practice.
  • People understand interbeing in different ways, and that is okay.

My understanding about interbeing shifted from… to…

  •  from a perspective that centered human interaction to a perspective that encompasses all of my surroundings as well
  •  from being within a religious framework to a choice that aligns with a way of living— not defined by religion or ideology
  • from perceiving it to be a form of political resistance against the state to being a global call for peace, empathy, and understanding
  • from mere compassion to vulnerable, reciprocal compassion
  • from filling every empty space with dialogue to appreciating the silence that already fills them
  • from working towards a future perfection to embracing the past and present imperfections
  • from the flower that blossoms and thrives in the mud to the flower itself, the mud itself, the rain and sun themselves, and every other factor, together and at the same time
  • from it having form to a boundless energy
  • from me to us
  • dispersed to integrated
  • simple and certain to ambiguous and complex
  • from a stagnant, idolized paradigm to an accessible, adapting state.
  • from a temporal mindset that only occurs when you are explicitly thinking about it to a more fluid state/lifestyle.
  • from centering human relationships with the Earth to centering the interconnectedness of the relationships between all beings.
  • from only associating Interbeing with untouched, pristine natural places to understanding how Interbeing can be practiced and realized in urban areas

From all the participants, I learned…

  • that water does not separate us like people think it does, rather it connects us (there are no boundaries, water does not disintegrate)
  •  the textures of interbeing are not distinct from one another— they overlap as concepts and lived experiences
  • that time is not a limiting boundary of interbeing— examples of interbeing in the past still serve as examples of interbeing in the present
  • what it is to be a wave within a larger ocean
  • ow interbeing, too, must cross borders and oceans and language barriers, but with such ease and such grace
  • how the seeds of Interbeing grow just the same if not more beautifully in the soil of my kin-sake
  • that there truly are communities far and wide trying to understand and live by these same lessons
  • that time lends to more experiences from which to learn, but age doesn’t dictate when to learn and how much to learn
  • the beauty of silence
  •  the value of mindful sharing academically, emotionally, and spiritually
  • to construct an environment in tune with other people’s thoughts, feelings and self
  •  how vital acceptance of self is to collective connectedness
  • to accept
  • Interbeing is messy and imperfect
  • Good intentions matter
  • Patience is the first step
  • We are connected, even when we are unaware
  • Listening is the way to understand
  • That swimming in the river can be seen as interbeing.
  • That interbeing can simultaneously be very simple and very complex
  • That every interaction is an opportunity to reflect and learn.
  • That there is a very diverse set of people practicing and studying Engaged Buddhism around the world.
  • how our country and environment can shape our relationship with and interpretations of the practice
  • Patience and forgiveness are necessary.
  • Simple questions don’t mean simple answers.
  • Listening to listen, not just to respond, is really important.
  • While we may practice mindfulness and interbeing in our own individual ways, there is something incredible in the collective nature of our intentions and actions.
  • Even just meeting people twice over video calls, it’s incredible what we were able to share in.

Spring 2019: Drop-in Qi Gong and Mindfulness

WHAT: Free Drop-in practice of mindfulness and qi gong (facilitator: K.Yep)

WHEN: 12:30 – 1 p.m., 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, starting February 2019

WHAT IS HEALING JUSTICE? “Conscious of systemic suffering and injustices, we work to create a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. We promise, for the benefit of all, to practice self-care, mindfulness, healing, and joy. We vow to not burn out.” (Mushim Patricia Ikeda 2016)

WHO: Free and open to the public, no experience necessary.

WHERE:
Room 208 of Gold Student Center, Pitzer
https://mypz.pitzer.edu/netcommunity/view.image?Id=1148

WHAT TO BRING:
1. Intercultural understanding frame
2. Water
3. Compassion
4. Comfortable shoes

Scholarship suggests that mindfulness:
* Decreases stress (Shapiro et. al. 2005; Zeidan et. al. 2011)
* Impacts the brain (Davidson et. al. 2003; Luders et.al. 2009)
* Impacts implicit bias or compassion (Burgess et. al. 2017; Jazaleri, et. al. 2012; Leuke & Gibson 2015; Tincher et. al. 2016)
*Impacts immune markers (Hazel 2011; Jacobs et. al. 2011; Morgan et. al. 2014)
* Impacts executive functions (Teper et. al. 2013)

“Oppression(s) do not operate on merely an intellectual level. It is painful and embodied. Conversations about oppressions are hard, if they are real. We must unlearn internalized oppression(s) at the very cells of our being. While we condemn oppression(s), we do violence to ourselves and others if we don’t bring compassion to our experience. Mindfulness teaches us compassion for self and others.” (Beth Berila 2016)

FMI: www. kathyyep..com

10/13/19: Transformational Relationships

WHAT: Transformational Relationships with Institute for Social Transformation

No-cost to PZ participants. Breakfast and lunch provided.

WHO: Open to Pitzer College faculty, staff, students, and community partners.

WHEN: 8:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. (to be confirmed)

WHERE: Multipurpose Room, Gold Student Center, Pitzer College (to be confirmed)

We appreciate your interest. Please note that filling out the survey does not guarantee a spot in the workshop. We are taking into consideration representation from different sectors of the campus and attendance at previous events for the 50 spots. We hope to continue to provide more programming to support your interest in professional development opportunities like these.

Kindly, RSVP by 9/25/18

FMI: Dr. Kathy Yep, Associate Dean of Faculty, Kathleen_yep@pitzer.edu

SPONSORED BY: Diversity Committee, Campus Life Committee, and Office of the Dean of Faculty

RECOMMENDED READINGS: The following readings are recommended (but not required) before the daylong workshop:

* WEISSGLASS, CONSTRUCTIVIST LISTENING:
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Julian_Weissglass/publication/249053633_Constructivist_Listening_for_Empowerment_and_Change/links/551c79b50cf20d5fbde54168/Constructivist-Listening-for-Empowerment-and-Change.pdf

http://schoolreforminitiative.org/doc/dyad.pdf

* PERRY: https://ii.library.jhu.edu/2013/12/13/perrys-scheme-understanding-the-intellectual-development-of-college-age-students/

12/9/18 Festival of Lights vigil outside of Adelanto Immigration Detention Center

“If the goal was to increase the love, rather than winning or dominating a constant opponent, I think we could actually imagine liberation from constant oppression. We would suddenly be seeing everything we do, everyone we meet, not through the tactical eyes of war, but through eyes of love. We would see that there’s no such thing as a blank canvas, an empty land or a new idea – but everywhere there is complex, ancient, fertile ground full of potential.” (adrienne marie brown)

The Pitzer College Diversity Committee invites you to an interfaith vigil near an immigration detention center that is 90 miles away from Pitzer College. Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish festival that celebrates freedom of religion and freedom from tyranny. People celebrate Hanukkah by lighting candles on a menorah, which is also called a Hanukiyah. Community members will gather near the immigrant detention facility to shine light on shared humanity. This facility is the largest immigrant detention center in California. It detains immigrants and refugees from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

At PZ, 1000 cranes were folded for a student-led 11/15 solidarity ceremony around a range of social issues. These cranes will be presented at the Festival of Lights vigil on 12/9.
Free transportation is available. The first 20 – 30 people to sign up via this survey will receive a spot. All are welcome (students, staff, faculty, and community members).

DEPART FROM PZ: 2 p.m.: A bus will be leaving from Pitzer in front of Scott Hall. Go to Rancho Cucamonga to pick up community partners then to Adelanto.
CEREMONY: 5:30 p.m.: The ceremony across the street from Adelanto immigration detention center.
RETURN TO PZ: 9:30 p.m.: The bus will go to Rancho Cucamonga to drop off community partners then return to Pitzer College in front of Scott Hall.

LOGISTICS: There are no bathrooms at the site. Dress warmly and wear sturdy/close toed shoes. Bring flashlight, water, and snacks.

OPTIONAL: glow in the dark signs with wishes and hopes, poetry, songs, chairs, glow sticks, blankets to sit on, xmas lights with own power source, musical instruments, speakers with own power source, noisemakers, Kleenex.

BACKGROUND INFO ON IMMIGRATION DETENTION CENTERS : (content warning)

https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/inside-californias-largest-immigration-detention-center

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trans-woman-roxsana-hernandez-rodriguez-beaten-in-ice-custody-before-death-pathologist-finds?fbclid=IwAR0PqnkS1cK44CvKUWJTzlIzzeBK24l1gns-cl0BbcsitJlxkfL_EXIDuzI&source=facebook&via=desktop

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-adelanto-oig-20181002-story.html

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/profiting-enforcement-role-private-prisons-us-immigration-detention

https://boomcalifornia.com/2017/12/25/black-life-in-adelanto/

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-indian-immigrants-20180813-story.html

CO-SPONSORS of PZ BUS:
PZ Diversity Committee
ASAM102: Social Responsibility Praxis (Yep)
ASAM22: Healing Justice (Yep)

EVENT SPONSORS: Rabbi Suzanne Singer (Riverside), Bend the Arc (LA), Clue CA (LA), Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (Riverside), and more…

Fall 2018 – Drop-in Qi Gong and Mindfulness

WHAT: Free Drop-in practice of mindfulness and qi gong (facilitator: K.Yep)

WHEN: 12:30 – 1 p.m., 1st and 3rd Tuesdays

WHAT IS HEALING JUSTICE? “Conscious of systemic suffering and injustices, we work to create a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. We promise, for the benefit of all, to practice self-care, mindfulness, healing, and joy. We vow to not burn out.” (Mushim Patricia Ikeda 2016)

WHO: Free and open to the public, no experience necessary.

WHERE:
Room 208 of Gold Student Center, Pitzer
https://mypz.pitzer.edu/netcommunity/view.image?Id=1148

WHAT TO BRING:
1. Intercultural understanding frame
2. Water
3. Compassion
4. Comfortable shoes

Scholarship suggests that mindfulness:
* Decreases stress (Shapiro et. al. 2005; Zeidan et. al. 2011)
* Impacts the brain (Davidson et. al. 2003; Luders et.al. 2009)
* Impacts implicit bias or compassion (Burgess et. al. 2017; Jazaleri, et. al. 2012; Leuke & Gibson 2015; Tincher et. al. 2016)
*Impacts immune markers (Hazel 2011; Jacobs et. al. 2011; Morgan et. al. 2014)
* Impacts executive functions (Teper et. al. 2013)

“Oppression(s) do not operate on merely an intellectual level. It is painful and embodied. Conversations about oppressions are hard, if they are real. We must unlearn internalized oppression(s) at the very cells of our being. While we condemn oppression(s), we do violence to ourselves and others if we don’t bring compassion to our experience. Mindfulness teaches us compassion for self and others.” (Beth Berila 2016)

FMI: www. kathyyep..com

Free Mindfulness Workshops, Summer 2018

WHAT: Free drop-in practice of mindfulness and qi gong

WHEN: 12:30 – 1 p.m., 1st and 3rd Tuesdays

WHO: Free and open to the public, no experience necessary.

WHERE:
Living Room, McConnell, Pitzer College (Bdlg 9 on map)

Free parking: Visitor Spots in Holden and East Mesa Parking (15 and 16 on map)

Campus Map:
https://mypz.pitzer.edu/netcommunity/view.image?Id=1148

 

WHAT TO BRING:
1. Intercultural understanding frame
2. Water
3. Compassion
4. Comfortable shoes

Scholarship suggests that mindfulness:
*Impacts immune markers (Hazel 2011; Jacobs et. al. 2011; Morgan et. al. 2014)
* Impacts executive functions (Teper et. al. 2013)

* Decreases stress (Krasner et al., 2009) or pain (Zeidan et. al. 2011)

* Impacts the brain (Davidson et. al. 2003; Luders et.al. 2009)

* Impacts compassion (Jazaleri, et. al. 2012; Neff and Germer 2013)

* Impacts implicit bias (Burgess et. al. 2017; Kang, Gray, & Dovidio, 2014; Leuke & Gibson 2015; Tincher et. al. 2016)

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

“Mindfulness is when you are truly there, mind and body together. You breathe in and out mindfully, you bring your mind back to your body, and you are there. When your mind is there with your body, you are established in the present moment. Then you can recognize the many conditions of happiness that are in you and around you, and happiness just comes naturally. ” (Thich Nhat Hanh)

“Conscious of systemic suffering and injustices, we work to create a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. We promise, for the benefit of all, to practice self-care, mindfulness, healing, and joy. We vow to not burn out.” (Mushim Patricia Ikeda 2016)

“Oppression(s) do not operate on merely an intellectual level. It is painful and embodied. Conversations about oppressions are hard, if they are real. We must unlearn internalized oppression(s) at the very cells of our being. While we condemn oppression(s), we do violence to ourselves and others if we don’t bring compassion to our experience. Mindfulness teaches us compassion for self and others.” (Beth Berila 2016)

“I think our notions of what counts as radical have changed over time. And I think that now we’re thinking deeply about the connection between interior life and what happens in the social world. We have to imagine the kind of society we want to inhabit. We can’t simply assume that somehow, magically, we’re going to create a new society in which there will be new human beings. No, we have to begin that process of creating the society we want to inhabit right now.” (Angela Davis in conversation with Fania Davis, 2016)

“Reconciliation is increasingly understood as an umbrella-term for an overall process which includes the search for truth, justice and forgiveness with the past is necessary for successful transitions from conflict, resentment and tension to peace and connectedness. …Whereas the role of courts is to judge the guilt or innocence of the alleged perpetrator, the focus of truth commissions is placed on the victims and their individual experiences.” (ICRC)

“If we want to grow as teachers — we must do something alien to academic culture: we must talk to each other about our inner lives — risky stuff in a profession that fears the personal and seeks safety in the technical, the distant, the abstract.”

Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher′s Life