What is Not Sacred?
In my life, I am letting go of judgments, assumptions, labels and duality. I find the more I communicate with other beings, the more I discover how little I really know. In my work with people, I find we each have our own “relative truth” about how things are. These can disagree and neither of us needs to be wrong. We are each unique, looking through different eyes and experiencing life in different ways. We can be greatly affected by our “environment” which includes our culture, families, economic status, religion, advertisements, media, schools, friends, books we read, and so much more. My sister and I grew up in the same house and yet, we view much of our childhood in completely different ways. As adults, we live in two completely different worlds. I cannot begin to speak for her and how “I think” she might feel. Only she can do that. I can only speak honestly and truthfully for myself. I find this is also true for animals. Each animal is a unique being, usually directly affected in many ways by the environment in which it grew up and is now living. Someone asked me how it feels to be a snake, as opposed to a dog or a person. I had to admit that each snake experiences life a little differently. If I asked 10 people “How does it feel to be a human?” I would get 10 different answers.
Continuing on with this line of thinking, I began to ask myself the question, “What is not sacred?” While I struggle to change who I am and become totally loving of all life, I still find myself falling into the grasp of the collective mind. Society all around me defines things as good, bad, better, best, beneficial, not beneficial, good bug, bad pest, tough weed, and so on. If I pause, breathe, and be present in this moment, I can see it is all really meaningless. As a child, I “weeded” out this white flowering plant, out of all our flower beds, at our home in California. Here in Washington and Oregon, nurseries sell them as flowers and people pay money to buy and plant them in their flower beds! What we consider pets here, other countries consider a food source. Again we get back to those “relative truths” I discovered earlier, and I am reminded again to release those labels. As I communicate with Nature, for example, I learned there really are no such things as “bad bugs or weeds.” It is only when things are out of balance problems arise.
In reality, we human animals know very little about the world around us and how it functions. For instance, in a few shovelfuls of forest soil, there can be more than 1,000 different kinds of mites. In one square meter of dirt, there can be more than 10 million nematodes and protozoa, 1 million mites and springtails, and thousands of other invertebrates, including several hundred earthworms. These are all necessary to make soil soil and have it grow things. We poison and injure and starve them with our mis-use of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, over-cultivation, not returning our waste to the soil and so on. There are beautiful creatures who live on each grain of sand at the ocean, who clean and shine each grain by eating the mud and dirt off the surface. Without them, science now tells us, the ocean’s edge would be too muddy to walk on and enjoy. There are millions of cute little creatures who live in your hair and on your body, who help to keep you healthy and yet, most of us bathe without the slightest knowledge of the thousands of lives which go down the drain each day.
What is sacred and what is not? Is the hair on my head more valuable than the one that falls to the ground? It composts and becomes part of the soil, food for those tiny creatures I described earlier. The soil is food for the earthworm, who can be food for the birds. The birds poop on trees who also use these nutrients and some are taken in by the rain. The tree is also nourished by the birds singing, and so it goes. There is nothing I can see from where I sit now, that did not originate in Nature. There is nothing I use, or wear, or eat, which came from nothing. I ask myself why a cigarette butt is not sacred? It was once a beautiful tobacco plant and part of it a tree. Human beings transformed them, but does this somehow diminish their value? I don’t like plastic myself, however much of it comes from oil, which is just a product of Nature. I don’t like what humans have done with some things, however, does that somehow make it “bad”? Nuclear war heads began as elements found in Nature. We can create things which are life-giving or life-taking, the choice is ours, the ingredients, however, all came from the same place.
In my life, I want to honor the interconnectedness I have only begun to understand on a very deep level. Everything I do, or do not do, directly affects all life around me, much of it not visible to my human eye. I want to respect all forms of life, without the need to label their value. It doesn’t matter to me whether an eagle dies when it hits my house, or a sparrow, both are sacred and valuable. My partner stopped the car the other day, so I could remove a spider about the diameter of a sewing needle, from our wiper blade, and put him on the grass by the road. A slug taught me more about appreciating my five senses, more than any human ever has. I want to respect and appreciate all life. I want to become more aware and conscious of what I do and do not do.
How do I begin to do this? I do not have time to constantly think about all the beings I may be affecting at every moment of my life, or I would not be able to do anything else. For me, it merely begins by being AWARE. When I wake up, and before I go to sleep, I say how grateful I am for all the life that supports my being every day, much of it not visible to me, or I am too busy to be aware of. When I eat, I say a phrase I learned from Thich Nhat Hanh, “In this food, I see clearly, the presence of the entire universe supporting my existence.” I desire to love and honor and respect all life with which I share this marvelous universe, for without all of them, including each of you reading this article, my life would not be the same. I thank you all. You are all sacred. For me, ALL LIFE IS SACRED.