Here at The Pachamama Alliance, we deeply value the interconnectedness of all life. In light of this, it’s always a joy to discover the many eye-opening ways others also reflect this same held truth.
Here is an enlightening Sikh story and lovely poem, excerpted from the book Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, by Tara Brach. They both wonderfully demonstrate how, when we are aware that all beings are aware, our compassion naturally extends outward, allowing us to see and feel our connection with all things in the web of life.
Thus, once upon a time…
“An aged spiritual master calls his two most devoted disciples to the garden in front of his hut. Gravely, he gives each one a chicken and instructs them, ‘Go to where no one can see, and kill the chicken.’ One of the men immediately goes behind his shed, picks up an ax and chops off his chicken’s head. The other wanders around for hours, and finally returns to his master, the chicken still alive in hand. ‘Well, what happened?’ the teacher asks. The disciple responds, ‘I can’t find a place to kill the chicken where no one can see me. Everywhere I go, the chicken sees.'”
The poem Brach included to follow this story, written by Gary Lawless, says:
When the animals come to us,
Asking for our help,
Will we know what they are saying?
When the plants speak to us
In their delicate, beautiful language,
Will we be able to answer them?
When the planet herself
Sings to us in our dreams,
Will we be able to wake ourselves, and act?
Brach states, “When we know that the animals and plants are part of who we are, we can listen and respond. Ignoring the trees is like ignoring our lungs when they are congested and we can’t breathe. Extinction of the songbirds means the end our our living music. When the planet herself calls to us in our dreams, if we are in touch with the truth of our mutual belonging, our hearts naturally stir with care. We remember that the web of life is our home.”
In our busy lives, it can be too easy to feel disconnected from others, and from the Earth herself. If this is you, let 2014 be the year you begin to reconnect with the voice in your heart, and the voice of the the Pachamama.
Art by: Vijay Sharon Govender