Yesterday morning was unusually busy and hectic, and I never got to sit and do my practice. This is a rare occasion that I do not meditate in the morning, and I do feel a little off most of the day when that happens. But I tried to be mindful and remember that I can meditate all throughout the day doing whatever activities I may do.
I have to admit that I was not really finding that meditative state as they day progressed. But then, later in the day, I needed to make a short trip to pick something up. I decided to take the motorcycle, and enjoy a bit of the beautiful late afternoon day. On the way to my destination, I just enjoyed the view, the cool air against my face, the late Suns warmth, and the classic rock music that was blaring on my stereo. Perhaps this was my meditation for the day.
But on the ride home, I turned the stereo off, and was left with only the rumble of the pipes and the wind.
As I found myself thoroughly enjoying this peaceful feeling, a bug splattered against my windshield. My first thought, or reaction, was to be unhappy that I had a mess on my windshield. Thinking how I would need to clean this as soon as I got home. And then it happened. Sati-sampajañña (mindfulness with complete awareness).
This bug was not a spot on my windshield, but a living, breathing, feeling being. But because of its small size, my initial lack of mindfulness ignorantly saw it as insignificant.
And then I thought about how my mind would see this same incident if I had instead hit a squirrel. And without sati-sampajañña, I would likely be very sad, but still thinking “it’s only a squirrel”. But now what if I had hit and killed a dog? I’m sure most of you are thinking how horrible that would be. And yes, I too would be devastated. And then I took this thought to the next level, and considered if I had hit a beautiful young deer. And what if that collision with the deer caused an injury or death to a loved one who was in the vehicle with you?
Suddenly, your compassion for the sweet creature would disappear, as your concern would be completely directed toward the human being. The life of the deer, suddenly insignificant.
So does this mean that a human life does not have more value than that of a small bug?
I will let each of you work through this in your own mind. But I ask that you consider life, and our connection to all living beings. Consider what judgements and discernment’s you make every day, and how we each may value or devalue another being based on our own ignorance and delusion. How much gratitude and compassion do we each have for this life, each tree and flower. The very source of each breath.
How connected are we to all living things, and to each other?
Yes, I did miss my time meditating on a cushion. But I did however get a tremendous benefit from experiencing this day and this life. I found the lessons in the moment, and the gratitude for this life. And I think this is every bit as important to my practice as sitting on a cushion.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.
Bug on the windshield, the dog, the deer, the human.