Sunday, September 25, 2011

On being kind

Buddha FrogBöblingen, Germany, September 2011,
Canon PowerShot S90, 35mm focal length equiv. 28mm, exposure 1/125 sec @ f4, ISO 80, no flash, exposure bias -1/3 
 © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]
This morning there was a fly buzzing around my office; an uninvited guest from last night's (wonderful) dinner on the veranda, with the door propped open so Frito could come and go.

Flies really annoy Frito.  He snaps at them whenever they buzz or land on him.  He'll actually get up and go to bed just to avoid a fly.  Carol's not too keen on them either, but mostly because they annoy Frito.

Let's see -- flies eat sh*t, they can carry disease, lay their eggs on something over-ripe in the kitchen, and incessantly bounce themselves against the window trying to get out.  I mean, what good are they?  And where is that fly-swatter anyway?

Sound familiar?  Are these common thoughts for you?

Well, I've now come to a different perspective.  Since I made my intention sometime ago not to harm any living creature, I now see this fly not as an annoyance, but simply as a trapped animal trying to get free.  First of all, that feels better.  One less annoyance.  Then I do what I can to free it, which really isn't very hard (just a cup and stiff piece of paper, and he's pretty easy to catch against the window).  Now take him outside, and let him go.

And you know what?  It makes me smile.  A deep and satisfied smile.  I just helped another being.

It's funny -- I find I've become very sensitive to all beings, and it just feels right.  And when I see someone act as I would have not that long ago, and swat at an insect that bothers him, I feel this pang in my gut.  Why do we feel the urge to kill just to remove an annoyance?  What sort of conditioning have we been given?  Do we even realize what we are doing?

But here's the good news.  It is really pretty easy to reverse such conditioning if you want to.

It really only takes your sincere intention -- that's all -- just a simple decision on your part.  Because even though your old habits will die hard, and you'll find yourself accidentally swatting at flies or stepping on ant hills, you will observe a momentary pang in your own gut, and think for a moment about that action.  And this will cause the space to form between action and reaction, and this will give power to your intention, and allow you to change your behavior, and yes, experience great peace and happiness.

It is a wonderful and peaceful place to be.  I wish you all have the opportunity to experience such peace.

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." -- Dalai Lama 


Pat said...

Well said. I rescue and release flies, spiders, bees and hornets. Haven't conquered the kill urge with mosquitos and ticks yet. Also, bacteria and viruses that make my internal life miserable must be dealt with. :-)

Steven Crisp said...

I hear you Pat.

Believe it or not, I now blow mosquitoes away. And if I find a live tick not yet embedded in Frito, I go toss him outside (into my neighbors yard ;-)

But if he is imbedded, or carrying a sack full of blood and getting ready to lay a bunch of tick eggs, OK, I admit, it's the watery whirlpool for that guy ;-)

And yeah, as you well know, this isn't about absolutes and edicts nor "thou shalts".

Firstly, it's about how each of us think about our own feelings and experiences. And secondly, I would hate for some inconsistency in my interpretation of what's a "being" to counter my intention on not harming the beings I have included.

Those cancer cells are certainly not worth "freeing" ;-)

But I think common sense does have a place in our decision chain. And the test is really so easy once we are tuned into it:

- how do we feel?
- does it bring us peace?
- and, are we smiling now?

Namaste and thanks for the visit (and I'll take it as some encouragement to keep making time for some words),


Boswell said...

Ditto on the mosquitos!

Steven Crisp said...

Hi Boswell!

Wow, another mosquito-saver. I'm guessing we belong to a rather small club ;-)

Now please tell me what you do about ticks.