For certain, I can say what it is not. It is not what we expect or hope or imagine or fantasize. We do not get to be simply riding a happy cloud untouched by the world. It is not survival of one’s self. It is not justice or truth. It is none of those things. It is outside of our mind’s ability to plan, strategize and neatly put things into lists. What is living awake?
Our friend is what I would call an experienced practitioner, dedicated to study and daily practice, trusting in no thing, and actively choosing to awaken in life. He is a very gentle person, a farmer. Years ago he was a vegetarian, and when he decided to eat meat, he decided that in order to do that, he needed to make every effort to make sure the animal that provided him with food was well cared for in its life. So, he specializes in caring for animals at various small farms.
Last week, he was fixing an irrigation line on one of the fields. Suddenly he heard the pigs screaming for their lives. He jumped into his truck and drove to where the pigs were grazing. He saw two large pit bull mix dogs attacking the sows. Without a second of hesitation, he jumped from his truck, grabbed a shovel, leaped over the fence and began hitting the dogs with the shovel. Our friend swung with all his strength down upon the backs & heads of the dogs. Neither did the dogs leave off the pig, nor did they notice they were being struck. Our friend continued to whack the dogs, as his heart broke in the terrible situation. The noise of pig screams, dogs snarling & our friend yelling alerted the other farmer from the house. Finally as the other farmer entered the pen, the dogs broke off and separated at a run from the area. Our friend turned to the sows to calm them down, reassure them, assess their injuries and their chances of survival. Once the pigs were settled down, wounds tended, the veterinarian called, our friend called the local humane society and went to look for the dogs. One of the dogs was nearby. He gently called to it, kindly encouraged it to come near him. It approached, wagging its tail, with a silly grin on its muzzle. He petted the dog, soothed its nerves, cuddled it close and let it sit in his truck next to him. The dog, with the blood of the sow on its muzzle, relaxed as they waited for the humane society to arrive.
Our friend did not place his own concern for survival in front of saving the sow. He did not experience hate for the dogs that were attacking the sow. He did not blindly apply a rule such as refrain from killing. Instead, he responded to the situation, without being clouded by beliefs and ideals. Free from fear, he was able to be there completely.
What is living Awake?
This must be close.