Well, not exactly.
But at least I didn’t kill it.
That – for me – is major progress.
Lately I’ve found myself having a number of conversations about why we human beings spare – or kill – what we choose to spare or kill.
Growing up, my family lived in a humid place near a bayou, so every day was like a brand new episode of “Bugs Gone Wild.”
I got used to killing with impunity (the other option being the possibility of ingesting, being bitten by, and/or sleeping with whatever creepy-crawly I was staring at at that particular moment).
But then I started meditating….and studying teachers like the Dalai Lama (a bug pacifist if I’ve ever met one).
From an interview with the Dalai Lama:
His Holiness particularly emphasized the role of education in developing compassion so that intellectual development is concurrent with moral development. He urged that children should be taught the value of compassion when they are small. He said that Tibetan parents teach their children not to kill insects and the children grow up to value all life. If children do not value insect life, that can be a slippery slope to devaluing all life.
Yet, when asked (by Oprah) if he ever needed to forgive himself for something, His Holiness stated:
My attitude towards mosquitoes is not very favorable, not very peaceful. Bed bugs also.
In my own life, I have realized of late that as the beings on my “kill radar” get bigger, my attitude towards offing them changes.
If they are super-tiny – like little specks – and crawling around, well, SMACK. Check. On to the next to-do list item.
But then they get bigger, more tangible, more, well, alive….and my awareness of the consequences of my choices increases accordingly.
Today’s spider was robust – possibly the largest I’ve seen in my present casa (and I’ve seen a great number of spiders here).
It was brown, and moved with an intricate cross-legged pattern I’ve never noticed in a spider before.
I had the paper towel out, and was all ready to do my thing (accompanied by a morally self-righteous refrain of, “What if it bites my parrot, or my turtle, or….ME?”) when all of a sudden – GUILT.
There it was, just walking, and I’m about to impose my will just because I am bigger, because I can, and because, of the two of us, I am far more afraid.
So instead I went and got a small cup.
I used the paper towel as a little dust pan to “usher” the brown many-legged visitor into the cup. I covered the cup with the paper towel (interestingly, the spider entered willingly and waited patiently throughout this process).
I then went outside and up-ended the cup, depositing the spider gently down in the grass (worrying the whole time as I did this that it would then bite my turtle, or me, the next time we went out for a lawn excursion).
But in the meantime, I feel MUCH better…..it would seem today’s mentor is small, brown, and (for the moment, anyway) safe outside.
p.s. however, per the Dalai Lama, let it be duly noted that mosquitos and bed bugs may not get off so easy….
Today’s Takeaway: What is your position on bugs? Does it change if they get bigger, smaller, more or less potentially poisonous or dirty? Do you ever want to change your attitude towards insects, and if so, what has worked well for you? I’d love to hear your insights!