Most of us know the old nursery rhyme that is the title of this post. If you don't, or if you've forgotten it, you can find in here. I remember reading the story of Jack's house to my children and how they delighted in it. Of course, such memory games are fun, but beyond the mental exercise there is a profound truth about the interconnection of all things.
The other morning as I meditated, I gave thanks for the floor on which my feet were resting. This led me to think of all those who responsible for that floor being there. The list was longer than all the things in Jack's story. Everything we can think of is the beginning of such a list. We have so many to whom we must be grateful.
That leads to the myth of "self." We are the products of so many other "selves:" the myriad ancestors who created us, the influences in our environment (both human and non-human), the culture of which we are a part, the uncontrollable circumstances of our lives. There can be no fixed self, because life around us changes moment by moment, and each of those changes impacts the "self" that we are in that unique moment. So there is the constant flux which makes each of us unique and yet entirely dependent on events beyond our control.
Because of this there is no such thing as "self-reliance" either. We are bound together with all of creation, a part of everything that is, just as all-that-is is a part of us. We can never come to the end of the list of those to whom we should be grateful. May we remember this fact when we begin to think of our "self," and may we wish all those selves and things that had and continue to have a role in creating the unique self that exists in this fleeting moment wellness, happiness, and peace. shalom