by Charles Rispin.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Perhaps it’s “natural” to detest some creatures and protect others. In our cars and electrified homes, as we eat our industrialized food and wear fashionable clothing made by poverty-stricken laborers in far-off countries, we often talk about the imperative of our inner, primitive man.
It’s “natural” to squash the harmless spiders that dart across the bedspread. It’s easier to love the dogs, cats, and rabbits at the pet store than it is to select rats or snakes to join our families. Just outside our doors, the moths and butterflies are pretty and harmless while the stinging wasps and bees have the potential to cause us pain. Compassion toward those of repellent appearance or who can possibly hurt us isn’t our heritage.
It’s also “natural”, in that same vein, to eat meat. We have canines. We cannot acquire vitamin B12 except from meat, supplements, or in some very specialized foods like nutritional yeast. Veganism is not “natural” in any sort of biological sense.
But the strappings of our cultural inheritance and biology aren’t inherently spiritual or moral. To intentionally set about causing death and pain because of that baggage may be “natural”, but it’s inhumane when alternatives exist.
Spirituality and morality are unnatural in terms of how our species has gotten to this point in time. Yet, they are entirely natural in consciousness.
Simplicity and stillness are unnatural in terms of our baggage. Yet, they are entirely natural in terms of our innermost selves.
The sparks of the infinite exists just the same in all the little lives, and in all the lives of all the larger animals, and in all people. All beings everywhere contain within them portals of the Kingdom, images of the Creator, and the hubs of relationships.
To squash the spiders, to avoid the small creatures who aren’t cuddly, to have war as the first recourse with those who live in the boundary-lands of inside and outside – this is a great and tragic loss of love.
To support suffering and capitalistic exploitation of animals and the pollution of our environment is another great and tragic loss of love.
Despising, hurting, and discriminating against those different than ourselves is the natural order of the empire. When we take the easy road of natural instinct and the separation, we are enslaved by hierarchy and limited to the flesh. In the sensibilities of clever animals, all of our industrialized consumer culture is entirely natural – as are the diseases of the flesh that arise from them.
Extending love and compassion to all creatures is the unnatural order of the Kingdom. We must dissolve the separation to be unencumbered by our baggage and work from the higher perspective of stewards of the earth. In the sensibilities of the Children of God, both the green fields and the life-saving medical procedures using advanced technology are entirely natural – as is the wish for enlightenment and blessings for all beings.
That which is “natural” is not a question of technology. It’s a question of choice and perspective. Insofar as the agents of empire are concerned, let us be gladly unnatural, undivided, and awake.