Vulnerable animal

 

One of the things that impacts me the most is the suffering of animals at the hands of humans. Like the cow I saw a picture of the other day, neglected, standing up to her belly in shit, looking back towards the photographer with big innocent eyes. Quiet, wordless, suffering. Not understanding what is happening to her. Complete innocence.

I see myself in those animals, and children and humans suffering in a similar way. I see all of us.

At times, we are all in that situation.

Vulnerable animals, without a clue about what is going on. That is what it all boils down to.

In our daily lives, we are – to a certain extent – in control and do understand. But if we look a little closer, we find that behind that thin surface is complete vulnerability and lack of knowing.

When we find this for ourselves, there is a great deal of liberation. We don’t need to hold onto stories anymore as an ultimate truth or answer. We don’t need to deny our complete vulnerability.

Instead, there can be a more receptive mind and heart. A mind receptive to the limited truth in any story. And a heart receptive to ourselves and others.

(If we have worked with our hara, our belly, we also find our hara more receptive, in this case to a felt trust in existence and life.)

As with other forms of investigation, it is a process of seeing and feeling what is more true for us. It invites in an embrace of (more of) the fullness of who we are, as human beings. And releasing struggle – in this case against seeing that we don’t know, and the vulnerability of our human self – makes it easier for us to notice what we are.

Initial draft…

Since I was a child, among the things that impacts me the most is the suffering of animals at the hands of humans. Like the cow I saw a picture of the other day, neglected, standing up to her belly in shit, quietly looking back towards the photographer with big innocent eyes. Quiet, wordless, suffering. Not understanding what is happening to her. Complete innocence.

I see myself in those animals, and children and humans suffering in a similar way. I see all of us.

We are all sometimes in that situation.

Quiet, wordless, suffering. Not having a clue what is really going on. Complete innocence.

As much as we try to understand. As much as we tell ourselves we understand. As much as we elaborate on and cling to stories about what is happening. We never really understand.

If we try to find answers within stories, the real answers to our existence, we are lost.

There may be answers at the surface, and we may tell ourselves they are the real answers. But somewhere, we always know. We always know those stories are not true. Not ultimately true.

And as human beings, we are ultimately only vulnerable animals. At the mercy of the wider world. At the mercy of the whims of life.

Vulnerable animals, without a clue about what is going on. That is what it all boils down to, when we look a little closer at our daily lives, where we are often in charge and control, and do often understand, to a certain extent. But behind that thin surface of control and understanding, is complete vulnerability and lack of knowing.

Which is exactly why seeing this more clearly, and finding some peace with it, is such a liberation. It allows us to see that we don’t know, never do, and never will. Any story is only a story and doesn’t touch what is really going on. And this human self is completely at the mercy of the larger whole. It is completely vulnerable.

The struggle to pretend otherwise is released a bit, to the extent we see what is already more true for us. See it, feel it, which in turn opens our hearts to ourselves, others, and our situation.

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