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Interdependency Is Always a Thing

Working Together at the Computer
Episode No. 225

Shambhavi talks about our culture of shaming people who need help or ask for help. Where does this attitude come from? A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

Student: Would you talk about asking for help?

Shambhavi: Sure. So some of us feel embarrassed or ashamed if we have to ask for help. Some of us just try to not ask for help. (Laughs) This is based on a conviction and an experience that this gross form of independence we call being an individual and doing it ourselves is actually what we are. We’re trying to defend our position as an independent individual.

We grow up in a culture or a family where that’s emphasized. It’s good to go it on your own, to be self-sufficient, to take care of yourself. And this even gets translated into sort of new-agey things where they say: give yourself love and be your own best friend. There’s not actually anything wrong with that advice if it is understood correctly. But generally it’s just a more squishy, fuzzy, warm version of individuality and doing everything on your own.

The fact of our existence is that we do nothing alone. We are never not getting help.

Every breath that we take requires the cooperation of an entire planet. All the food that we eat—even if we independently go to the supermarket and buy it—we’re dependent on those who grew it, those who processed it, those who shipped it, those who stocked it, and those who checked us out at the supermarket.

We might think we’re doing things by ourselves. We might take pride in being self-sufficient. But every single simple act of ordinary everyday life—walking, breathing, sitting, sleeping, eating, pooping, combing our hair, brushing our teeth, walking out our front door, staying at home—every single thing that we do is utterly dependent on myriad, and I would say even infinite others, infinite factors, and infinite circumstances.

This, of course, is what the Buddha called interdependency. Fancy that.