Let the Living Remain Living
It was a hard thing to see. We would have crossed the street to avoid it but there were too many cars coming too fast. Looked like perhaps just an abandoned backpack at first, laying on the sidewalk, but it was a dog. A carcass. We passed it quickly and I didn't mean to look at it directly, but I did. The bloody bites all over its body were scary, but the scariest part was its position - rigid, face-down in its moment of futile self-protection, shoulder blades reaching its ears. Surrender. Frozen in its moment of death, still laying upon the concrete. A mountain lion had most likely come down from the nearby hill. We tried to keep a cheerful pace onward, spoke of other things, and only after descending from our hike and walking home, this time on the north side of the street, did I find myself making a comment. Nature can be so gruesome.
Yet we don't blame the mountain lion. We accept the forces of nature. If the beautiful beast was hungry and its survival depended on finding flesh, it did what it needed to do. Maybe that's why the poor dog's body looked so complacent, like it knew it was giving itself over to greater forces. Still, it was a hard thing to see, and to wonder, who would come clean it up? Did it have a human companion, will they learn what happened, will they be heartbroken? Thoughts I had to let go of, that very day, so as not to allow my imagination to render the scene an omen.
But today, two months later, the image of the dog materialized in my meditation, of all things. The bloody circular bite wounds all over its body, the way we skirted around it, the sensational reminder of Mother Nature's mostly-understandable violence.
And then a new thought slithered in. A comparison of a sort. The mountain lion transformed itself beneath my closed eyelids into a human being, firing a missile, shooting a machine-gun, carrying out destruction of various kinds. This human being was hungry for something. And its survival, so sadly, somehow depended on this destruction. This human being then morphed into a mass of human beings, and their survival also depended on something. But then this vision in my headspace could only go so far, the analogy started to slip away.
My belief (or assumption?) is that human beings can (must?) feel compassion, something that perhaps a mountain lion can feel at times, like for its young, but mostly overrides such sentiment when it chooses to tear its teeth into the body of another living thing. Its choice perhaps is not "conscious," like a human being's is. Like a human being's is supposed to be? We're still doing too many things too unconsciously. We are no different from the predators with whom we share this world. We are products of our Mother. And She can be vicious.
We don't blame the mountain lion. We don't blame the mountain lion…
But this vision creeped into my mind and I can't lay blame off of our human species, for the destruction we constantly wreak upon our home. Survival is starting to fall away as an excuse, because the destruction is not actually leading towards survival. If it is a transformative purging in order to usher in "the new," well, I don't know if that's an excuse I can accept either. If we are growing in consciousness, if the "new" energy is filled with less gruesomeness, then the path towards that balance does not necessarily need to be so violent. We are just telling ourselves that it does, because we still see no other way. We will continue to not see another way as long as we stay in this frame of mind. Einstein wisely said that we cannot come up with a solution from the same level of thinking which created the problem. I've been kind of stuck at this juncture for while. How do we think anew?
I think teaching "acceptance" has gotten us into a dead end. We are too complacent. We tried to rebel a little bit and stand up a little bit (i.e., "Occupy" movement), but that was quickly quieted by the powers that be. I personally prefer to live a peaceful life than be protesting anything anyway, even though it breaks my heart everyday to see what is going on. And everyday I mend this heart of mine, with soothing imaginings of beauty and love permeating every cell of every being and structure… And it's still not enough. We forget that chaos is necessary, or, we don't know how to understand it and let it do its creative thing. So we are still learning. I just wish this process of growth didn't have to include so many bloody flesh wounds.
Let's say this mountain lion represents an entire army of battling humans. As it sits upon the hunched dog's back, could it pause for a moment and realize, if I step away from this "meal," I can go create for myself another, less destructive one? I have a brain (and heart!) with a capacity to explore my survival needs and resources. This capacity can increase if I nurture it - by letting living things remain living. I need not be an automatic soldier, fulfilling an empty destiny of defending an invisible border. I need to bond with my fellow beings and understand that there is actually enough for all of us. If we stop killing each other, maybe we can begin to understand.
Maybe I'm too much of an idealist. But someone's gotta be!
May every living thing, with the capacity to understand how to improve itself and our world - or with the capacity to be improved by benevolent forces - continue living and learning. I know that these terms are subjective, and perhaps a life ended early by rocket-fire is a "lesson" and just part of "just how it is." But my heart cannot accept this. My heart longs for the peace which we have not yet achieved in our world, and will not achieve if we keep chalking it all up to "that's just how it is."
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"Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness. And so to whatever degree any one of us, can bring back a small piece of the picture and contribute it to the building of the new paradigm, then we participate in the redemption of the human spirit, and that after all is what it's really all about."
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