Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 28

I was talking to my sister yesterday. That's usually a fun time as I've always had an unmatched ability to make her laugh. I think it's a mixture of our genes, similar sense of humor and the fact that when our parents divorced we were teenagers and we ended up sticking together at a time when many siblings grow apart. And as much fun as we can have together, we have never had a hard time sitting down and having a deep conversation. Humor and drama tweak the emotions in a very profound way, so bridging the gap isn't all that difficult. 

Yesterday, we were discussing raising children. She has a head-start on me and already has two children. My wife and I are waiting for a few more years to start popping those guys out. Still, we like to gab about how we're going to raise them and this and that. Being a Jain this month, one of the biggest concerns I have had is the soul of insects and animals. This wasn't a big step for me since I already had a real concern for all creatures. My sister, on the other hand, has always loved animals but feared insects. Sometimes her fear translates to anger which, of course, can lead to dead insects. I mentioned this inconsistency to  her and suggested that I want to make sure that my children (as well as my niece and nephew) protect all forms of life. She agreed, but with a caveat.
"I know that they'll protect all lifeforms. I don't see them killing anything except mosquitoes I guess," she told me.
Mosquitoes have been my biggest challenge this month. When I feel an itch on my bare chest my first instinct in the summer is to swat rather than inspect. I had to change that a lot and when I did inspect and find a mosquito, I would generally push him away from my skin and on his way. No killing.  Even if he was loaded with my blood, I let him go on his merry way. Most people make the claim that mosquitoes do nothing for the earth, but that's not true. They are food sources for many insects and they also help pollinate flowers. What would the point be of letting the spider in my laundry room live is I made it a point to kill all of it's food? By killing mosquitoes, I'm potentially starving and killing other insects. 

The point is that people make exceptions to everything. We make exceptions to our own rules and our own morals. People break their rules when it comes to eating well and exercise just like they break their own marriage vows and promises to their family. We constantly allow gratuitous desire to overtake sound judgement and we do so by excusing small infractions because for some reason we dilute ourselves into thinking they are somehow less damning than full-blown violations. If we start making excuses to break one part of a promise to ourselves, then what's to stop us from adding another exception in there? How big does a lie have to get before we realize that we're living it?

I don't kill mosquitoes because they are on the karmic cycle with and therefore my responsibility to protect. They have been in the past, but will no longer be the exception to my rule. No more exceptions.

1 comment:

  1. I really liked this post....liked your thoughts on not breaking vows and promises!