Wednesday, May 14, 2008

16 lessons in compassion

1. Get up, hesitantly.
2. Notice some sensation of pain.
3. Notice the sunlight, being unpleasantly bright this morning.
4. Open the balcony door for a few seconds.
5. Have a small butterfly, not bigger than your thumbnail, flying straight into your bedroom.
5b. Foolishly close the balcony door.
6. Hestitate.
7. Catch the butterfly with your caved hands.
7b. Be glad.
8. Fail to open the balcony door with the back of your folded hands, the butterfly within.
9. See the butterfly escape back into the room through a small opening your small finger allows for when finally pulling open the balcony door.
10. Catch the butterfly again, and note how one wing seems not to work properly anymore.
11. Think of the slight hint of pain you feel yourself.
12. Release the butterfly on the balcony.
13. See how it sinks slowly like a shot-down airplane.
14. Think of the moral implications of killing it now, weighing your own notions of relief, fate, and all. Think of Peter Singer.
14b. Remind yourself that it was you who brought the small animal in that situation, foolishly opening the balcony for no reason, really; catching it, twice, in a half-hearted manner.
15. Watch it glide between the balcony floorboards, with its broken wing, neither unable to free itself nor to be reached by any of your further actions.
16. Turn and leave for work. Notice some sensation of pain.

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