Friday, June 01, 2007

A lesson in life...

It was Thursday morning (May 31, 2007) about the time just before my wife and I go out of the house and drive our own cars to work. She said to me… “There’s a rat in the toilet bowl, can you go and save it please?”

“Save it?” I replied. “The rat is a pest… just leave it in there and let it die.”

Off we went to work. In the evening when I return I saw the rat in the toilet bowl. It was still alive and its head is above the water. I studied it and thought to myself… this is a mouse and not a rat. Its muzzle is long and sharp. A rat’s muzzle is blunt. I thought about saving it… and then changed my mind... thinking:

“Oh just let it die. It is a pest.” “Wait…maybe I could dish it out and throw him outside and he won’t come into the house again…” my thoughts continued.

I did nothing and just left it there... in the toilet bowl. Then I told my daughter that there is a rat in the toilet bowl and casually asked her to if she would be kind enough to save it.

“Why don’t you go and save it yourself.” She said… “It would be good for your ‘karma’, since you are always talking about ‘karma’…”

The following day, Friday morning (June 1, 2007), I thought about the rat again but did not want to go into the toilet to see if he is still alive and be faced with the prospect of asking myself if I should save a house pest. Friday evening, while we were having dinner…. My daughter announced:

“Dad…. the ‘rat-ti-pu’ (the rat) is dead…”

“How do you know it is dead?” I asked her.

“Well… I know ‘cos it smells bad.”

“What did you do then?” I asked her.

“I flushed it down the toilet.” She said.

I don’t know why but we all laughed. Then a sense of guilt came over me and I thought to myself…

“I was offered the opportunity to show compassion but I let it pass by me. And now the rat is dead and I no longer have the opportunity to do so.”

Have I learn something from this rat? I believe that I have. I now realize that despite talking about all beings are related and come from Tao, I am as yet unable to accept that the rat is not “a rat” but “a life”. That is why I have left him to die… my conceptual mind tells me that a rat is a pest. No use feeling guilty now. The rat sacrificed his life to teach me this one important lesson:

“See other beings beyond their objective existence and you will be in touch with Tao. If I had been able to see the rat as “life” I would have saved him…”

So what then is life? Is it the ‘energy that animates’ living things…?