Indra’s Web: A Meditation

There is an ancient story from India. It goes something like this: The god Indra constructed the universe as an infinite number of intersecting nodes. At each nodal point, he placed a pearl. Each pearl reflects, and is reflected by, all  other pearls. Thus, the universe contains an infinite number of beings and dimensions, each connected to, reflecting, and composed of, all the others.

Shamans in many traditions say that the universe, and each being in it, is a crystal with innumerable facets. Each crystal vibrates, or sings, at a unique tuning, which is audible to, or felt by, all others. Further, each crystal reflects, and is reflected by, all other crystals. Thus, each crystal is both an individual consciousness, and a reflection of the whole. When we gather in a circle, we represent this complexity.

In both of these descriptions of the universe, everything and everyone is connected. We may not know how the fate of another being is bound to our own, but we can be certain that it is. e can also be sure that our actions will effect others, and the effects will last at least seven generations.

Most of my teachers have taught a meditation that seeks to awaken our sense of connection and belonging within this circle, or dense web, of being. While each meditation is unique, reflecting the cultural context in which it arose, each is also similar to the others. The following is a version I practice and teach. I invite you to try it out.

Imagine yourself connected to a vast network of points of light. Each point is connected to all others, and each is conscious. This network surrounds the Earth, holding her in a vast net of joy,compassion, and love. Each being in the web has chosen to be present at this time, and to bring healing to suffering. If suffering is particularly focused in one area, perhaps the Gulf Coast or Greece in this moment, then the attention of all within the matrix is also focused there.

Allow yourself to feel, and  relax into, the support of these many beings. Even as you send caring and healing to all who need it, including those who may not presently be conscious participants in the circle, allow yourself to receive caring and healing from the others in the circle. Spend as much time as you wish in the great circle. When you are ready to stop, express gratitude to all who have joined you, and return to everyday reality.

If this meditation fits, perhaps you will choose to join the circle of beings who sit together each night, holding the Earth and all who live here in their attention.  Participants come from many religions and backgrounds. There is always room for another, and there is much need.

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18 thoughts on “Indra’s Web: A Meditation

    • There is also a worldwide network of shamans. You can join. The network meets nightly at 10 p.m. That means that somewhere there are shamans ready to meet in just a few minutes. The web is timeless so our concerns with being on time are pointless. I encourage you to simply feel the thousands of nodes, each a healer, that surround the planet and pass stories and knowledge around.

  1. I wrote a comment and it vanished.
    So I guess I will try to write it, one more time.
    I think it would be interesting to be part of the meeting. I would learn a lot, I am sure.
    When you mentioned that “our concerns with being on time are pointless”, I had to laugh.
    I mentioned my problem with time in “Love Responds to Love,” question #7.
    It’s true. When I was around 7 years old, I tried to nail a second to a wall—in an attempt to hold onto a beautiful day. Obviously it didn’t work. That is when I realized time is not real.
    (This is one of the stories that I used to tell the children, because they loved to hear about how I got in trouble for accidentally putting a hole in the living room wall. Oooops. My father was not happy.
    But, hey! How was I supposed to know it was not a good idea. I was just trying to capture a good place in time. 🙂

      • Oh…..
        Time understood.
        I simply wanted to stop the present, so the future would not be able to appear (and push the present into the past). In the mind of a child—all things are possible! When I first heard the earth was spinning around at great speed, I spent the rest of the day jumping as high as I could, hoping that I would somehow land in China. 😉
        Recently….
        someone from Japan asked me what Americans mean when they say someone is “sitting around killing time.”
        I told her that this saying means someone is wasting time, or not using it wisely. It is figurative, not literal. What an image it creates in the mind though, when you stop and think about it.

      • Interestingly, that idea of “killing time” is not widely used in Indigenous cultures. One can waste time, but it is not about being idle. Idle time is for thought, wonderment, and lots of play and social interaction, to say nothing of creativity. The question I am prone to ask is, “Not using time wisely in whose eyes?”

  2. And from this meditation comes an important lesson about the physical world as well. No human lbeing exists simply within his own skin.

    As we get further down the rabbit hole, we begin to realize that our addiction to oil impacts not only the economies of other countries, but their environments and every other living thing within their borders as well. The more iPads, and running shoes we buy, the more factory dorms and sweat shops go up. Soldiers returning from “peace keeping” mission bring back bugs to which we have no natural immunity. The Bechtels and Haliburtons of the world line their coffers while hydroelectric dams displace indigenous communities and disrupt ecosystoms.

    We’re playing Jenga with the food chain by randomly wiping out species in our quest for resources to feed the slavering maw of our consumerism…Eventually, if we’re not careful, we’ll yank out that key block, and the whole pile will collapse.

    On the upside, an extra five dollars in one person’s wallet may just be the means to the only nourishment a homeless person might have that day. A smile or a “hello” might be the only human contact a stranger has experienced in a week. One never knows how one’s actions will affect the world around them…one only knows that they will…

  3. Apologies before hand… I have a tendency to get wordy…

    I’ve been considering Indra’s Web in correlation to the work of Byron Katie (thework.com).

    Everything is a mirror, everything is a cloud. While we all do see differences in external stimuli – the truth remains the same; everything is a neutral prop onto which we project something that is subjective and from our own histories/stories/personalities.

    That being said I consider Katie’s work when feeling negativity – I am instantly brought to the face of the projection and am gifted with the subconscious mind’s lesson that it wishes to convey.

    If my negative feelings towards others is always, allways, a projection from something, so to speak, out of tune within myself then when others insult me or put me down then this too is coming from some private place of pain they hold within themselves.

    At which point I’m aware of the very compassionate understanding that, this having nothing really to do with me, this person requires my empathy and not my argument. Providing this empathy then allows us both to find that stallion understanding of wisdom from within ourselves.

    Now – Indra’s Web.

    I am a dew drop whose every action changes not only itself but each dew drop in the universe. Furthermore the change in others changes me ad infinitum.

    I was talking to a friend recently about what I use as criteria for whether I would be willing to argue with someone to the point where they feel, for lack of better terms, belittled. The criteria is a test of a single adjective; harmful. If you are speaking your mind towards me and my family and what you are saying is unquestionably – harmful – I will have something to say about it. The only example I need here is – my sister is a lesbian happily married to a woman and we live in 21st century America. She’s been met with many harsh projections – you see where I am going with that one.

    Continuing into Indra’s Web…

    When discussing the above with a friend of mine he asked, “why would you want to do that to yourself? When that person leaves the situation feeling belittled with an inferior sense of logic and world view – understand that it is you who is leaving the situation belittled, inferior.”

    Indra’s Web guides me to how I want to treat others…

    Katie’s method, Indra’s Web, The Golden Rule – this is the nature of the word “esemplastic.” When unlike, different, separate things are molded into a functional unit.

    I considered further about how Alan Watts describes us as the Big Bang but… As I said in the beginning of this comment, I apologize for my wordiness.

    Thank you for your post.

    • Jason, thanks for the thoughtful, personal, comment. The great beauty of life (one of them) is the diversity of our views. Things are simply viewed differently from diverse points in the net. I am not sure how I decide to argue or not, but certainly the criterion of harm is important in the process. Diversity seems to breed complexity and conflict, as well as depth. So interesting and sometimes passionate, even tragic.

  4. Pingback: Suspended in a Leap of Creative Faith… Part 2. « Jason Kirin

  5. Michael, we’ve been connected now for a few months via wordpress & i just found you again as i google “indra’s web” in confirming something i am writing in an email to a friend. you’re the second thing that popped up! Crossing paths again … in indra’s web 🙂 haha! 🙂 wren

  6. Pingback: Indra’s Web: A Meditation | Tom Fraser-Conlon's Blog

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