It’s lunch time and Annie, my orange tabby sits by the screen door, fixated on whatever is going on in the patio.
“Annie! Time to eat!” I yell. She continues to stare outdoors not even glancing my way.
I walk to the screen and scan the patio floor to see what she thinks is so interesting. Then I see it. A June bug is lying on its back kicking its tiny legs furiously, trying to right itself. “Help I fell down and I can’t get up!” It screamed. Did I mention I’m an empath, a sort of sentient-being whisperer? Not only am I able to pick up vibes from my environment, but all sorts of creatures communicate with me all the time, usually telepathically. This wouldn’t be the first June bug I helped and probably not the last.
I slid open the screen door and walked over to the helpless beetle, when I noticed the large spider hovering over it, about two inches away. The spider slowly lowered itself from its web, licking its chops, preparing to sting the bug with its paralyzing venom. Now I understood why the beetle screamed so frantically. I was the only hope this poor creature had before it became the spider’s next meal.
Time was of the essence, so I looked around for a stick or a long leaf or anything to move the spider out of the beetle’s reach, but there was nothing. The spider has a right to live a happy life, just like the beetle, so crushing it was out of the question. I pinched the web with my finger tips and lifted it a few inches to the right. The spider still attached to the web, landed in a nearby flower-pot. I reached down and let the June bug grab on to my finger. A second later it flew across the grass and danced around the bushes. It breathed a huge sigh of relief.
“I’m sorry dear spider for ruining your easy catch. I know you have to wait a long time for an unsuspecting insect to get stuck in your web, but June bugs are special to me. They fly around carrying their oversized bodies like it’s no big deal… and did you see its beautiful iridescent green back?”
The spider crawled onto a plant and I heard it say, “Whatever.”
I just finished reading The Accidental Buddhist; a funny, personal story how the author, Dinty Moore, became a Buddhist. The title of his last chapter “What Kind of Buddhist Am I” got me to thinking — what kind of Buddhist am I? Since I don’t like labels, I don’t actually call myself a Buddhist, but if someone asks (which hardly ever happens), I tell them I study Buddhism. Don’t ask me why I don’t like labels. I just don’t, but if you don’t like that answer— it’s because labels create judgment and that creates all sorts of problems.
Moore goes on to answer his own question, “A lousy one. Thank you.” And I can relate to that. I am no saint. I don’t live in a monastery. I don’t meditate in caves. I don’t even go on weekend retreats. The idea of sitting still all day in a room full of people I don’t know, doesn’t interest me in the least, although every weekend, my home becomes my retreat. I meditate several times a day throughout the weekend; listen to inspiring videos about Buddhism, consciousness, and relax to Zen music. My sangha is my husband (even though he doesn’t study Buddhism but is spiritual and mindful) and my pets. My cats are excellent teachers on how to chill out and live in the moment.
My world view is not black and white. When examining an issue, I attempt to look at all sides of an argument and take the middle ground. There is an exception though. I have zero tolerance for those who choose to abuse animals, children and adults who cannot defend themselves. I have no problem defending myself or another sentient being from someone harming them and that includes using violence. I believe in doing no harm BUT at the same time, taking no shit. Just because I want to live in peace doesn’t mean I am a doormat. I must include myself when it comes to compassion.
My language can be “colorful” at times. I like practical jokes. I am not politically correct. If you want to hang around me, you’ll need a thick skin. I’m not touchy feely to strangers, meaning I’m not a good person to “whine” about your problems to. I believe that all of us are responsible for our actions. Sometimes things do happen beyond our control but we have the ability to figure out how to make the best out of a bad situation. When I had cancer, the last thing I needed to hear was someone crying about my disease. If and when that happened, that person was banned from my life until they changed their behavior.
Yes, I get mad, fearful and sad but I don’t let them rule my life. Instead I process my feelings and move on. Whenever possible I turn what could be considered a bad thing in to a funny story.
My main focus daily is to follow the 5 precepts and if I screw up, acknowledge it and do better next time.
I just told you what kind of Buddhist I am, so what kind of Buddhist are you? Feel free to leave me a comment.
I started this blog to help me incorporate my Buddhist practice into my daily life which can be challenging at times, especially when dealing with other people. Last night was definitely one of those times.
Hubby came home from work at a neighborhood dog kennel his usual time, only this time he showed up with cuts around his eye that was swelling shut … and a torn shirt. At first I thought one of the large dogs jumped up on him, until he admitted that he was attacked by five teenage boys while he working. They intended to rob him and when they found out he didn’t have money, they decided to beat and kick him instead.
It didn’t even take seconds for the severity of the attack to sink in. My blood pressure shot up and I was beyond angry. The sheriff came to our house to take a report and hubby went to urgent care to have his injuries cared for. Luckily his wounds will heal.
I am still pissed off about what happened. I tried several times since last night to meditate, and to be thankful that his injuries weren’t worse, but I kept asking myself these questions.
Why do these kids (punks) think robbing and hurting people is ok?
Don’t their parents know what their kids are doing?
Hubby didn’t go down without a fight. He punched one of the teens several times. I hoped (and still do) that hubby knocked out one of his front teeth; a nice reminder of what happens to delinquents that pick on the wrong person.
If he did get some bruises, how will he explain them to his parents?
Will they even notice?
I know all these thoughts are my ego trying to make sense out of this, but its times like these where I have trouble feeling compassion for someone who clearly has no compassion. How many times have I read about other teens committing similar crimes, only to hear their defense team claim that they live in abusive homes, their parents are druggies and blah, blah, blah.
I get it that not everyone has parents that give a shit about them. My mother was an abusive alcoholic but I didn’t grow up robbing or attacking people. Playing the victim card to justify bad behavior never sits well with me. I am a firm believer in personal responsibility.
A parent’s number one job is to raise their kids. I don’t care if they have to work. I don’t care if the kid is growing up in a lower-income household. There are plenty of families that are poor and you don’t see their kids running the streets at night (hubby was attacked at 9:40 p.m.). If the parents can’t be home to take care of their kids, they can find someone to look out for them. I was a single mom until my son was 10 years old. I enrolled him in after school care to make sure he wasn’t left alone, getting in to trouble.
None of the Five Precepts mention anger, so I can at least say I haven’t broken them, but I know the Dali Lama and Alan Watts have plenty to say about holding on to anger. Wouldn’t they be pissed that their loved one was clobbered? I am sure they would. It’s always easier to talk about doing something hypothetically but when “it” actually happens… boom! The ego takes over! We are human after all.
I am working on letting go of what happened. Writing about it hopefully will help. Staying angry is not good for my health and I know chances are slim that the teens will be caught. Hubby probably wasn’t their first victim … or their last. Eventually their luck will run out and they will end up a guest in the prison system or worse.
Sam Simon, co-creator of the television show The Simpsons died yesterday from colon cancer. He was 59 years old.
Sam and I have a few things in common. I am a stage four rectal cancer survivor. I am 59 years old. I try to help as many sentient beings (namely animals) as I can.
As soon as he found out about his prognosis, he gave his money (millions of dollars) away to charities helping animals and children. In my opinion Sam exemplifies what it means to be a compassionate being or what I call a bodhisattva.
I am so fortunate to be alive and healthy, but I don’t know how much time I have left to spend on this beautiful planet, so I intend to put that time to good use. I don’t have millions of dollars to donate but I do have time and a willingness to make a difference in an animal’s life. It is humans like Sam who inspire me to be a better person.
Rest in peace Sam Simon, the world is a better place because you were here.