What seeker seeks?
One of the 'signs' of passing youth is the 'birth of a sense of fellowship', with other human beings, as we take, our place 'among them'. -Virginia Woolf
We are here ''to awaken', 'from the illusion of our separateness'. - Thich Nhat Hanh
The purpose of the 'creation of man is the attainment of the supreme virtues' of humanity. The purpose of man’s creation is, therefore, 'unity and harmony', not discord and separateness. - Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 4.
Every seeker first pursues the heroic spiritual quest alone. Only 'individuals can navigate the initial inner reflection', and search that a spiritual path requires. But beyond those solitary first stages, 'growth and maturation demand', a widening of the focus, a drive to engage with others, the realization that 'we are all interdependent';
As children 'we make friendships when we learn to reciprocate kindness and transcend narrow self-interest'; we pass 'into adolescence and learn the give-and-take of relationships';'move slowly into adulthood'; and, 'find a permanent partner,'
- 'learning to love and be lovable';
- and then 'we bear and raise children', who eventually become responsible for the direction and training of new people, 'today, very Big Question ';
Our 'capacity for love grows as the 'importance of the self gradually wanes'. [today we do not see]; Life itself teaches us, little by little, that we can and should transcend the self. Healthy human beings 'learn to subordinate and outgrow selfish needs and interests, as the needs of others increase in importance. Like a child’s tricycle, the 'self-doesn't wear out or become unusable, it just becomes a bit elementary and confining'.
When this happens, -we increasingly find life’s meaning in the crucible of our relationships, and the self-begins to diminish in influence.
Only when you 'begin to stand away from yourself', and 'see it in the context of other selves',
'Can you attain this perspective'.
The process takes place almost imperceptibly over time, a slow evolution, in the 'arc of a life', that grows from selfish to selfless.
The 'needs of others don’t suddenly become more important than our own'- instead the process happens gradually, sometimes in fits and starts, and may take a long time.
Only the 'solid, spiritual work of real, searching', 'inner change can 'bear fruit', on this plane of development.
Actual life does not proceed according to any set schedule; and you may find that 'some walk the valleys of the seeker’s path quite slowly', while others run; that 'one person begins at fourteen and another at forty-one or sixty-four'; that 'no pre-determined time or age to reach one developmental stage or another holds true for everyone:'
'Growth and maturity are in intellect and understanding, and not in age and duration of life.' - Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 481.
‘At this stage of the journey, the solitary seeker starts to give way to the engaging, loving altruist, and a community of mature relationships begins to develop and flourish.
This pattern forms the classic, timeless path of healthy human maturation and spiritual development- from dependence to independence to interdependence’.
Independence replaces dependence as the child grows through adolescence and into early adulthood, but full spiritual stature requires yet another leap from independence to interdependence.
As the 'human being grows and the soul develops and expands, love for others and then finally selfless, altruistic dedication to the well-being of others',
Emerges: ‘I can never be what I ought to be', - until you are what you ought to be.
This is the way our world is made.
'No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. 'We are interdependent’ - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In this day, however, means of communication have multiplied, and the five continents of the earth have virtually merged into one.
In like manner all the members of the human family, whether peoples or governments, cities or villages, have become increasingly interdependent. - Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 31.
Very spiritually-based practice and all of our lasting wisdom traditions teach this truth.
The prophets and messengers of the world’s great Faiths each appeared to progressively proclaim this truth to all human beings-that we are one interdependent species with one shared destiny. These mature, loving, interdependent relationships every seeker forges on the path begin to make up your spiritual family, your tribe, your community.
The bonds that hold such a family of true friends together go deeper than a familial gene pool or common ancestry or shared interests-they form eternal connections of love. These bonds and connections with others, forged in the valley of love, are the signs of true maturation, the beautiful ripe fruit of our existence, the delicious juice of life.
History of interdependence of nations
Authors and leaders have written and spoken about interdependence throughout history, including Karl Marx, Mahatma Gandhi, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Stephen Covey. Karl Marx first used the term interdependence in the Communist Manifesto (1848) in describing the universal interdependence of nations in comparison to the old local and national seclusion of independence and self-sufficiency.
The various classical civilizations over the ages established vast trading networks with one another. The exchange of goods and ideas occurred from the time of the early Indian Empire on the Indus River, all the way up to the Roman Empire on the Mediterranean.
Today, international interdependence is often said to be strong and to have increased. International trade is taken to be an indicator of interdependence, and its high and, with some interruptions, rapidly growing values are accepted as evidence of the increasing interdependence of nations.
International disintegration is entirely consistent with a high degree of international interdependence. For interdependence exists when one country by unilateral action can inflict harm on (or provide benefits to) other countries. Competitive protectionism, devaluation, deflation, or pollution of the air and sea beyond national boundaries are instances.
Interdependence is measured by the costs of severing the relationship (or the benefits of developing it). The higher the costs to one country, the greater is the degree of dependence of that country. If a small country benefits more from the international division of labor than a large country, its dependence is greater. If both partners to a transaction were to incur high costs from severing economic links, there would be interdependence.