Courtesy to an ant – a meditation on connection

The elephant becomes courteous to the ant

A few days ago, during my spring solstice meditation (Every Solstice, a friend and I tend to dedicate an entire evening, usually into the wee hours of the morning, to focused meditation), I stopped for a few minutes to read some Hafiz. In case you do not know Hafiz, he was a Persian poet, not unlike Rumi in his greatness. Though a few of his poems stroke me particularly deeply that evening, this one resonated to my core, and has been with me since.

God
Blooms
On the Shoulder
Of the
Elephant
Who Becomes
Courteous
To
The
Ant.

Wow, it still hits me strongly. No matter what your version of God is (in my case, it is a form of universal connection between all things), the depth of these words are profound. The patience, love, and respect we can all develop, by respecting all beings, is simply awe inspiring. Imagine if the next time you were out in the world, you were as equally generous with kindness to strangers as with your friends and family?

The poem, and this vision of kindness, reminds me of the story of the Buddha and an untouchable named Sunita. In ancient India, the untouchables were the lowest caste in the Hindu caste system. They were the wretched, the poor, the diseased. They cleaned toilets, did the hardest work, and were prohibited from entering Hindu temples. If they were heard reciting prayers, their tongues were cut out. It was the worst imaginable existence. But the Buddha did not care.

In the story of Sunita the untouchable, the Buddha approached him, and said “My friend, please come closer so that we may talk”. Continue reading

Let it go.

Let go

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” – Bruce Lee

In our multifaceted, complex lives, sometimes things can be difficult.  We travel for work, spending long days away from home. Our bodies become sick. We argue with loved ones. We end up jobless at a time when money is needed most. We are judged by those that don’t understand the actions we take.

Someone close to us leaves us behind.

We then cry out that these things shouldn’t happen; they should not be the way they are.  We decide that things, life, and events are unjust and unfair.   We label them, judging them as bad or good, instead of accepting the ways things are: neither good, neither bad, just there.

The weather is never bad, it’s just weather.

In this way of resisting what is, we add lots of negativity, anxiety, and frustration. Often times, we spend more energy criticizing how terrible things are than what what is done in the first place! How many times have we recounted to friends and family about the terrible driver that cut us off that day? The unfair cost increase in our power bill? The store ran out of bananas?

This way of carrying things around with us, past the event itself, is well recounted in a story of two monks. Continue reading