I wonder what our world would be like if our first instinct upon seeing an insect were not to squash it. And what would our world be like if we asked for forgiveness from the insects we did squash. What if we felt regret for each tree we had to cut down, each flower we picked, each egg we cracked?
What if we respected life– all life, all existence. What if we were not afraid to revere it, to love it, even in our moments of destroying it?
It is painful to care, yes. Painful to think about a piece of meat once having eyes, once having life. We are not used to it anymore. It is hard to fathom that the leaves thirst for sun and warmth as much as we do. They are things. Simply tools for our survival.
But it starts small, doesn’t it? It starts with not caring about the ants, and the trees, and the gophers. Then the coyotes go, and the deer, and the buffalo.
Then suddenly it is easy to go to war, to say that these people must die so that I might live. To say “I will kill.” To say “We must kill.”
If only we had a thought, just a small thought each time another life contributed to our survival. A recognition, beyond the pleasure of the flavor, of life. The fruit we pick, whose flesh came from a tree which perhaps someone grew for the sake of our consumption, but which the tree produced solely because it was its life, its survival. The meat we eat, which came from the flesh of an animal which perhaps someone raised for the sake of slaughter, but which was alive to live, no matter the kind of life it had.
Can we do that? Can we revere life so much? Might it be too painful? Or have we been in pain all along, with knowledge deep inside us that there is something terribly wrong with our disconnection?