Updated: Jan 20, 2019
It’s always fun to read stories of enlightenment. Stories of the Buddha sitting under the tree and reaching a state of total understanding and peace just through the act of observing. Stories of seemingly mundane everyday occurrences, which through recognition and awareness, turn into profound spiritual lessons. This is one of those stories, except it‘s not about the Buddha. Nor is it about a guru or the experiences or teachings of any popular spiritual leader. No, this is a personal story. The story of the Beetle and the Bird.
It was a normal day at work. I had just finished working with a client and was waiting for my next appointment to arrive by taking a few sips of coffee and looking out the window over the garden. As I sat, I watched a beetle flying over the garden with a bird nearby. The bird then flew closer to the beetle and they both hovered together over the bushes. For half a second, neither the bird nor the beetle went anywhere. They just hovered together. Then just as quickly as anything, the bird ate the beetle right out of the air. I was puzzled as to why the beetle didn’t fly away at the sight of the bird. The pause was long enough to be noticeable. For sure it had time to escape. It was then that I realized that the beetle offered itself to the bird. The half a second pause between the two was not a hesitation in fear as the the prey sit helpless in the face of a predator. It was a symbol of service, of self-sacrifice, and gratitude. Before this I struggled with the idea of eating meat. It wasn’t a judgement of others who ate meat, but more of a personal guilt associated with consuming animal flesh. But after observing this act of surrender and love on the part of the beetle, I realized that this is the nature of all food. If we understand the Law of Consent and Free Will and how it relates to ourselves personally and every aspect of the Universe, we can then see that everything we consume is consumed as a gift. An offering of unconditional love and self-sacrifice. And so in this idea, there becomes an overwhelming obligation to gratitude. Respect and gratitude towards that which brings me energy and physical life. Because it is through that service to me that I am allowed to provide service to others.