I believe life is richer when people communicate, cooperate, and collaborate with one another and with the world around them. Because I believe this, I facilitate programs to help people live, work, and play well together. I love occasions for people to come together for the sake of creating more-meaningful connections. In fact, I'm hosting one such occasion soon: CAMP UNPLUGGED.
Most people think of camping as spending recreational time in a tent, and of camp as a place kids go in the summer. But the roots of the word camp originate in the Latin word campus (pronounced like 'caboose') and meant a clear, flat, open area. It was associated with a site for military training, and in Europe later came to mean a temporary place where armies rest. So in some senses, camp is about safety, and about practice. In Spanish campo means field, so in that regard the word relates to nature, nourishment, nurturing and growth. The modern word campus started out as a place of learning and education, and more specifically the land on which those buildings were constructed, often in a cluster with an enclosed yard called a cloister. And we most often associate the word cloister with a monastic existence, so there's a connection to spirituality, too. In fact, in the old days all learning was considered sacred, and schools were usually connected to churches.
THIS camping trip is built upon those ideas above: clear, open, rest, safety, practice, nature, nourishment, nurturing, growth, learning, education, and spirituality. It's a weekend where I imagine people having good conversations, eating good food, and taking a a deep breath of air fresh with the smell of the forest. You know -- healthy, holistic stuff good for mind, body, and spirit. It's my hope that people come away from the experience feeling grounded and rejuvenated and engaged in interbeing.
Famed Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh coined the term interbeing to describe the idea that all things are connected and interwoven. Translated from his native Vietnamese, the term means being in touch with the here and now. From it's Latin roots, interbeing means to be together. The idea is to imagine that every object, event, idea, experience, person, or whatever is entwined with every other in an endless web of combinations. If you broaden your perspective, it's not hard to see that every thing is interrelated, and therefore in relationship with all others. That chain of interbeing stretches out infinitely. You might say the entire cosmos exists in every other part of the cosmos, and we as people are not separate from that. The translation also means continuing to realize, being perpetually aware that this inter-relatedness is true.
There's an African term for this, too: ubuntu. It's from the Zulu/Bantu languages and means I am because we are. The term has come to encompass a philosophy of human kindness. I like that notion: I can be kind to you, because you are in fact a part of me. I cannot exist without you.
My hope is that we embody these concepts, taking them from a philosophical notion to a practical application of open-hearted and open-mindedness. To embody means to make a part of your body. So when we embody or incorporate these ideas, we're taking them into our very being so that they become a living part of us.
And so I'm going camping, and I invite you to go camping, too. I'm asking people to put away their technology, to enter wide-open spaces that give room for heartspace and headspace. Just perhaps, for a while, we can be not only physically together in the same space, but also actively inter-be together, too.