Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

“Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life…”

This is the first Mindfulness Training: Reverence For Life, revised by Thich Nhat Hanh.

I am memorizing all Five Mindfulness Trainings, one by one, thus trying to deepen my understanding of them, and reinforcing my commitment to and love for them.

Yes. I practice the First Mindfulness Training. I shifted to a vegan diet, I started buying vegan shoes (Thanks Teva, for such cute sandals), I sit as silent witness every time a human being is executed by Texas officials.

Image courtesy to c2.StaticFlickr.comAnd yet, I kill a mosquito whenever I see them in the house.

Outside they’re safe. I consider that their home as much as mine.

Inside they’re not.

My husband and I suffer so much from the allergic reactions to the bites and our itching, that I find it completely justified to kill them. Worse, I take pride in the swiftness of my strike and my 80% success rate.

And yet, my consciousness gnaws at me. If I am so aware of our interconnectedness, if I am sincere in my practice of looking deeply into how the mosquito and I interare (which is actually quite easy, when they bite you and carry your blood in their body), how can I kill them?

I make every effort to rescue the silver fish in my bath tub, before I take a shower, to vacuum clean around the spider, to give the ants a chance to flee from the dust pile, before I throw it in the trash bin. Why don’t I extend the same courtesy and support to the mosquito?

The truth is that I feel hurt by the mosquito, and not by the other animals. The truth is that I know how to live peacefully with the mouse and the scorpions, and not with the mosquito. The truth is that I am limited by my inability to stand my feelings, especially the itch. The truth is that I think I already do more than enough to honor the first Mindfulness Training, and that I can happily kill one or two mosquito’s.

Whether or not I do more than enough, the truth is that I’ll keep reciting the first Mindfulness Training till even the tiniest mosquito is safe in my house.


You want help to connect to the interbeing of all life? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary discovery session.

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