Indra’s Net

Recently I read an article titled, “The Gift – Living a Life of Purpose and Meaning by Stephen Cope. He’s the Director of Kripalu’s Institute for Extraordinary Living. The premise of the article is “Each of us is born with a unique gift – and a sacred duty to fulfill its promise.” It asks us to consider living as a “soul awake in this lifetime”.

In his article, Cope refers to Indra’s Net. I first heard about Indra’s Net when I was in college. It inspired me to really pay attention to what Cope refers to as what life looks like “when a human being functions on all cylinders – body, mind, and spirit.” Ultimately, the Indra’s Net theory led me to become a foster parent, adoptive parent, social entrepreneur, and full time child advocate.

Cope writes about what it would mean for us to consider one of the central archetypes of the yoga tradition – the fully alive human being. He says,

“There is a lot of yogic lore about the process of living fully – and there is one piece of lore that I find very helpful. Yogis believed that every human being is born with a special gift. This gift, for each of us, is like the doorway to a fulfilled life. It is the doorway to our own particular path, our vocation, our calling – our sacred duty. Yogis called this vocation our dharma. All of life is seen as an opportunity to realize and manifest this unique calling – this unique dharma.

Early yogis had a beautiful way of thinking about the importance of the gift. For these yogis, the whole world was seen as a vast net woven together in space and time – not unlike our notion of the quantum field. This was called Indra’s Net, and at the intersection of each warp strand and woof strand of this net is a jewel. This jewel represents an individual human soul. And it is that soul’s duty – sacred calling – to hold together its particular part of the web by being its own unique jewel-like self. In this way, the whole universe holds together as one great interlocking field. But it only hangs together if each one of us plays our particular role, enacts our unique dharma. It only works if each one of us is completely and authentically ourselves. It only works if each one of us is completely who we were born to be.

I like this image a lot. It honors each individual soul’s idiosyncratic gift and relates it to the thriving of the whole. And it underscores… the idea that not only do we each have a gift but we each have a profound responsibility to that gift. Our task, says the great Jungian psychologist Carol Pearson, is to take ownership of our gift, and to trust that its full manifestation is precisely what the world most needs from us.”

Holding together my little corner of the warp and woof of space and time in Indra’s Net gives me great joy. Why wouldn’t it? It’s full of fabulous kids, adults who think out of the box, and exciting new possibilities…


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