A Guide for the Ecology of Interbeing to InterBecoming

Ernesto van Peborgh
4 min readFeb 21, 2024

As Charles Dickens astutely observed, we find ourselves at a pivotal juncture, living through both the best and worst of times. The coming decade promises changes of unprecedented scale and velocity, eclipsing any transformative period in human history. We stand on the precipice of profound shifts across every dimension of our existence, driven by the dual forces of degradation and innovation. The Earth’s deterioration, climate change, and the collapse of systems ill-equipped to navigate us through these exponential shifts underscore the urgency of our situation. The advent of artificial intelligence and biotechnology not only challenges our sense-making capacities but also calls for resilience, strength, presence, and a heightened state of awareness.

The era ahead demands the fullest expression of our humanity, compelling us to evolve from mere being to becoming, and more critically, from Interbeing to Interbecoming. This evolution is not just a journey of personal transformation but a collective passage toward deeper interconnectedness.

Interbeing, a concept coined by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, describes the deep interconnectedness of all things, highlighting that nothing exists independently but is always in relation to everything else. It reflects the understanding that our existence is intertwined with the universe, emphasizing the interdependence and co-creation of all life forms.

“Interbeing” refers to the profound realization of our interconnectedness with all life forms. It is an understanding that our existence is inextricably linked with the web of life, where every action impacts the whole. This concept urges us to see ourselves not as isolated entities but as integral parts of a greater ecological and social fabric.

“Interbecoming,” on the other hand, extends this notion into the dynamic process of evolution and change. It encapsulates our collective journey towards a future where our interconnectedness not only defines our present state but also guides our transformation. Interbecoming is about embracing change, not as individuals but as a connected community, evolving together in response to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

In this pivotal moment, as we stand at the crossroads of degradation and renewal, the call to transition from Interbeing to Interbecoming has never been more urgent. It is a call to action for each of us to embody the resilience, awareness, and interconnectedness required to navigate the complexities of our times and to thrive as a collective force of hope and life.

In the face of such tumult, it becomes imperative to embody a thriving force of life, hope, and vitality.

The journey involves a deep dive into self-discovery through our vulnerability, fears, and pain.

It’s a process of baring the soul to uncover our most authentic essence, the genuineness of our being, and how this unique identity can evolve and transform.

Embracing and cohabitating with the pain of our experiences becomes a cornerstone of this journey. When we encounter painful limits, a transformation process is triggered where, surprisingly, pain becomes our ally. The key lies in befriending this pain, understanding it, and being willing to undertake an inner exercise to face it, along with our fears and vulnerabilities.

The suffering that arises from the experience of touching those limits invites us to look inward, to recognize and accept ourselves, and to begin to understand the world through a holistic interdependence, activating our becoming, our inter-becoming.

This approach not only unveils our own light but also marks the beginning of a process of resilience, firmness, presence, hope, and purpose. Discovering our purest intention allows us to embrace that hope, live with purpose, and connect with our deepest and most genuine essence.

This acceptance facilitates complete integration, eschewing any form of denial or discrimination, and it is here that true transformation occurs. We rediscover ourselves, moving away from an aversion to doing and allowing ourselves to focus on being, on Inter-being.

This path also resonates with the four noble truths of Buddhism, accepting suffering and acknowledging that it is possible to cease suffering through the Buddha’s path.

The evolution from mere being towards Interbeing and further into Interbecoming marks a crucial transition, embodying the essence of life’s dynamic force. Interbeing, as an active endeavor, requires us to acknowledge our profound connection with the living world, taking responsibility for not just our future but for the legacy we leave for the voiceless — the natural world, and the generations that will follow. This realization extends into Interbecoming, where we not only recognize our interconnectedness but also commit to evolving together in harmony with all of existence.

Incorporating Interbecoming into our journey enhances our commitment to a life of integration, rejecting any form of denial or discrimination, and embracing true transformation. It propels us beyond the static state of being, urging us into a continual process of growth and shared becoming. This path does not merely mirror the Buddhist acknowledgment of suffering and its cessation but enriches it with the collective endeavor to evolve, reflecting a shared responsibility and an active participation in the healing and thriving of our planet.

As we navigate the challenges of our era, the imperative to transition into Interbecoming becomes increasingly clear. It signifies a profound engagement with life’s regenerative capacity, where our actions and intentions align with the broader ecological and societal web. Through Interbecoming, we commit to a future that is not only sustainable but also flourishing, ensuring a harmonious legacy for nature, and the countless generations yet to come. This dual flowing between interbeing and Interbecoming encapsulates our most profound duty and opportunity — to be active participants in the unfolding story of life, fostering resilience, hope, and vibrancy in every step of our collective journey.

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Ernesto van Peborgh

Entrepreneur, writer, filmmaker, Harvard MBA. Builder of systemic interactive networks for knowledge management.