Everywhere, the false self-importance of humanity scars the minds of spiritual beings. Turning to Christianity, we behold believers that God has deigned to assume the human form but no others. Turning to Buddhism, we find spiritualists who believe that only humans can attain enlightenment. The cronyism of humanity has destroyed and enslaved other species, strip mined the planet, and created a hierarchical social structure that awards vice.
From the temple to the grocery store, people congratulate themselves on being human. People cry out for Eden just while they pave it over. It is madness.
Sitting in mindfulness with a tree, can you find any evidence that the tree has no divine spark or capacity for enlightenment? Why do we suppose the frog is less a Buddha than a man? Why do we suppose the suffering chimpanzee in a laboratory is not partaking in the suffering of Christ? Does not the stardust in our mortal frames lay also in the rocks at our feet?
If there be anything special about the human form and human mind, it is the specialness of a destroyer. The false self-importance of humanity marvels that we are capable of destroying so very much; the virtuous antidote to such pride is set as a cherished abstinence from destruction. Why do we assume that other creatures are incapable of our widespread destructive habits? Perhaps they are, and their abstinence from destruction is simply far superior to ours.
The native and original peoples were often considered to be nearly animals because they lived in collaboration with their environment. They did not destroy the land and other species of beings, and so they were considered worthy candidates for theft and destruction. We can clearly now see that such dehumanization is a failure of compassion. But the question should not be why such spiritual peoples were considered “less” than human, but rather why it is conscionable to steal or destroy that which is not human. The rock, the tree, and the frog are citizens of other peoples.
Humanity is but one facet of the divine creation. Imagine a lapidary who destroyed all facets but one on a priceless diamond – is he a good craftsman? Yet, we as a people are one ray of divine light that reaches out to extinguish other rays simply because we can, congratulating ourselves as we destroy. We are not good stewards simply by refraining from such destruction. We are not yet good stewards until we help the garden to increase and thrive.
Sitting in the darkness of a cool night, breathing in the chirping of crickets and the hooting of owls, there is no hierarchy of being. The false self-importance of humanity would have the world be a chess board where beings have different roles and value. But in truth, you are a flicker of a candle and I am a different flicker of that same candle. The frog, too, shines from this, and the tree, and the rock. All things hum with enlightenment. All mortal beings suffer with Christ. God is closer than your breath and enlightenment is the ground of consciousness.
Let us not congratulate ourselves that we perceive the world with human nervous systems. We have also manifested as rocks, trees, frogs, and stars – it is only our ignorance and pride that we do not perceive the world through them also.