I wanted to share an excerpt from a wonderful article I read this morning from the Mindfulness Bell publication (Winter/Spring 2016), entitled: The Treachery of Oblivion, by 15-year-old Jadzia Tedeschi:
“How could the people who have the power to change the world be so oblivious to fossil fuel depletion, world hunger, and ecosystem changes? But wait…here was the key! These people were oblivious, not treacherous.
…In reading the First Mindfulness Training (http://www.openway.org/content/mindfulness-trainings), the first things that might come to mind are vegetarianism and a blank criminal record. But all around me, I saw irreverence for life and our plentiful resources. I understood more clearly how crucial it is to love life in all its forms. A mosquito only bites to nourish itself and so deserves compassion, but what about those tampering with Mother Earth? Yes, they are worthy of respect and compassion. They haven’t encountered sufficient conditions to become sensitive to their circumstances. As “victims of oblivion,” they inflict harm on the world.
…Let’s not fight the victims of oblivion, because ramming into each other with sharpened horns will only bring chaos and destruction. Let’s let our collective energy be contagious and fly on the wings of laughter and affection.”
Now that autumn is underway here in western Montana, the local birds are taking full advantage of our bustling mountain ash tree in our front yard, which is chock full of bright, orange, and apparently delicious, berries. While the tree produces berries each year, similar to fruit trees it has an every other year cycle of having a much greater bounty than the year prior. So every other year we have to contend with the challenge of birds running into our large picture window on the front of our house. As I understand it, not only are the berries a hot commodity to birds soon taking flight down south but with the turning of the weather the berries also start fermenting, causing the birds to become slightly intoxicated. Hence, their judgement gets impaired and the window they once avoided skillfully the rest of the year suddenly looks to them like something they could fly through.
One such disastrous thud of a bird happened this morning, prompting me to finally put up the only thing I’ve tried that really works to keep them at bay from our window: an exterior curtain. I’ve tried a few other things over the years: cutting out pictures and taping them to the window, shutting the interior curtain, but to no avail. I thought the little robin that hit so hard this morning wasn’t going to make it. But after a little while of sitting beside him, shielding him from one of my approaching house cats, he made his way to his feet, then hopped up on my front steps, started making chirping calls, and then flew up into the tree. It’s hard to say if he’ll continue to heal or not, but sometimes they do simply get stunned after their impact and then appear to recover.
The first mindfulness training, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, is Reverence for Life (see pic I’ve crafted together below). There are many ways to interpret, practice, and grow with these trainings, of which we have two sets: the Five and the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings. In my experience, and personal opinion, the sentence: “I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life,” causes some confusion. What does it mean to kill? My desk side Webster’s dictionary defines kill as follows: to deprive of life; to put an end to; also defeat; use up; to mark for omission. Commonly brought up is whether it’s then acceptable, in relation to this training, to euthanize our dying pets. A similar question was posed in the current edition (September 2016) of Lion’s Roar magazine (formally Shambhala Sun), in a section marked Advice for Difficult Times: