For several months now, Mike and I have had some house guests; little ants who enjoy hanging out in the kitchen and bathroom. I realize that to many the answer to such visitors would be simple; grab the bug spray and begin the eviction process. However, to kill even these tiny beings goes against my personal code of conduct. Each and every day, I vow to abstain from taking life. I decided this would be an excellent opportunity to relinquish attachment to “our home”; to simply allow the ants to live in peace where they are. I contemplated how they are not there with the express purpose of annoying us. They only seek survival and to live out their existence with relative ease. In reality, we are no different.
I began to see how the notion of “our home” is an illusion. We don’t “own” anything, exclusively, and all of life is open to all beings equally. Sharing space with these tiny beings has allowed me to gain greater respect for life in general. I soon began to view them as simply part of the household. I’m careful to not disturb them. For instance, I’ll go to a different sink if the one I’d plan to use is occupied by the ants, lest they be swept down the drain in a cataclysmic flood. As a result, my mindfulness and sensitivity towards life has increased.
I respect the ants because they live. I learn from them. They increase my love and teach me to be humble, even in the presence of tiny beings. They help me to not want to be “better” or “more” than others; to know that in the scheme of things I am just as frail, fragile and tiny as my new friends.
Moreover, this practice has taught me that our teachers are everywhere; in all of life. No being is insignificant and we can learn from everyone. One reason why we don’t learn from everyone is because we pick and choose who is important to us. But when we live this way we dramatically reduce the number of lessons we can learn in this life. I could have just as easily washed the little ants down the drain but, as a result, I would not now be sharing this message with you. They provided the lesson. Not me.
All life is precious and meaningful. When we shift our consciousness towards love of all life, we begin to see our own precious nature and our own deeper meaning.