Painting by Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas
“By studying DNA, molecular biologists have verified that all living organisms are genetically related… Through our evolutionary history, we are related to all other beings present and past — they are our genetic kin. When we see other species as our relatives rather than as resources or commodities, we will have to treat them with greater care and respect.”
~ David Suzuki, The Sacred Balance
Note to Self:
“What is the purpose of life?” I asked the void.
“What if I told you that you fulfilled it when you took an extra hour to talk to that kid about his life?’ said the voice
“ Or when you paid for that young couple in the restaurant? Or when you saved that dog in traffic? Or when you tied your father’s shoes?
Your problem is that you equate your purpose with goal-based achievement. The Universe isn’t interested in your achievements…just your heart. When you choose to act out of kindness, compassion and love, you are already aligned with your true purpose.
No need to look any further!”
As we rummage around in the underbrush of our lives looking for our missing purpose, maybe we forgot we hid it in our hearts. Maybe our cold or warm hearts tell us who we are better than society’s grading system.
Maybe we need a thermometer instead of a yardstick.
Here’s a question: if we thought of ourselves as related to every living thing, plant or animal, how would that affect our hearts? How would we treat the world around us?
That’s why I think kindness is basic to life on earth. And not just in how we raise our children and treat our friends, but how we treat every single thing, including ourselves, foreign and domestic, as the saying goes.
If your religion is built on exclusion and disrespect, it’s useless as a guide as to how to live your life. It won’t tell you how to treat the land, whether you should try to grow your food with poisons, for example, or treat animals like cogs in your money machine or foreigners like subhuman creatures.
Worldview is important, after all. Creation myths that put you in charge of creation like a boss monetizing his factory will create your world. Yet, the believer is created by the belief system, too. The heart finds it hard to grow in infertile soil.
It’s time to question our own nurturance. It’s time to wonder why America has spent so much time and money on war since its inception, why the genocide of the Natives is so invisible, why such a large part of our population is imprisoned, why slavery existed and seemed to be God’s law.
It’s interesting that all this and more has always coexisted with “Christianity.” Would you say “in spite of” or “because of?”
The least you can say is that the world is not getting better because of our beliefs. Maybe we need another way to proceed. I don’t have much more confidence in reason, which can be distorted to support atrocities too.
I only have confidence in a loving heart that takes care to support the tender shoots of life wherever it finds them. I only have confidence in respect, in tenderness, in indiscriminate nurturance.
As artists, this is our mission. Our great asset is not our talent but our hearts. That’s why we are artists, so we can grow the heart of the world.
- Anima Fire has my best stories.