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.