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Reverence For All Life

Gary Zukav’s statement “True empowerment has reverence for all life” is still haunting me from yesterday’s excerpt from the book “The Seat of the Soul”.

How many times have we mindlessly killed an insect just because it was in our way, or was annoying us, or because the fear that it evoked in us. And sometimes even with such haste!

Today, as I soaked my running feet in the salty pool water in our backyard, a red ant crawled up my body. My initial thought was to flick it away, as you could imagine.

Red ants do sting and some of us even have bad reactions to their venom, just ask my friend April whose feet swell up like balloons! But, as I was curling up my middle finger, Gary’s words came back to me. I controlled my impulse even though each little ant movement shot signals to my brain to flick and itch. Instead, I reminded still, consciously noticing the sensations I was feeling without reacting or judging, and curiously followed its path.

It was moving up and down my arm and fingertips. Then I placed it on my leg. It went down toward the water, only to sense that it wasn’t the best route, lifted up the top of its body, and returned up my leg.

I released it onto the pavement and followed its progress a little longer. Soon after that, it found another ant that was carrying a crumb. They both paused and shared the provision. It made me grin from ear to ear.

This was a good exercise for me to be more mindful of my surroundings, especially noticing the abundant, tiny life that is all around me, and which I rarely take a notice of. Also, it is a good exercise to notice our reactions, which in my case was annoyance and fear of being bitten.

This exercise also made me think of my reactions to larger life issues.

How many times do we take our aggression out on someone just because they were in our path when we were feeling annoyed, irritated or acting out of fear? Probably more often than we’re willing to admit to ourselves. At least I do.

But the more I practice mindfulness meditation, the more I am in tune with my consciousness and aware of my reactions. I am less likely to get annoyed, and even when I do, I am quick to notice it. I focus on my intention and ask myself, why do you feel annoyed?

Today Gary was saying that Compassion is not complete if you don’t show compassion even to those that have harmed others.

Hating evil is not a form of compassion. It’s easy to love those that are lovable and reciprocate the kindness of others. But it is another whole level to show compassion and forgiveness to those that hurt you, the way Jesus did when he forgave the men that led to his crucifixion by saying “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” or when Ghandi did not want to testify against his perpetrators, saying “They are only doing what they thought was right in their eyes.”

So, friends let see if we can show reverence for all life and show compassion to those who need our forgiveness.

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