Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cultivating I and Thou relationships

At a study on prayer earlier this week I was reminded of Martin Buber, a Jewish philosopher, who describes the nature of relationships among people and the natural world, as being either "I-Thou"or "I-it".  It seems to me that one of the benefits of prayer is to more reverently reflect upon our relationships with nature, other people, and life with spiritual beings (God, ideas, art...).

Often our relationships degenerate...“Every Thou in the world is by its nature fated to become a thing, or continually re-enter into the condition of things.”

Without it, a human being cannot live, but with only it, a human being is not human.
                                                      ~Martin Buber, from I and Thou

A video, Martin Buber: Towards fuller relationships, provides a brief description his philosophy.

The Dalai Lama also speaks to the development of relationships in his book "An Open Heart: Practicing compassion in everyday life."  He notes:

The seed of compassion will grow if you plant it in fertile soil, a consciousness moistened with love.  When you have watered your mind with love, you can begin to meditate upon compassion. Compassion, here, is simply the wish that all sentient beings be free of suffering.  


  1. Interesting post. And I found your article on water aquifers most disturbing. Lets hang onto our water and someday when the Texans run out well can offer them bargain they can't refuse...:)

  2. Thanks. I"m with you on wanting to conserve water. We'll be in a world of hurt if we drain all of our aquifers!