Today I was at my partner’s mother’s home to enjoy another home cooked meal. When I pulled up I noticed a cute little yellow and white kitten and being tame, he came right up to be petted and loved.
After lunch, I went outside to see Daisy, the boxer. And, again, I was met by an animal excited to be petted and loved. This got me thinking: why are animals so non-discriminating? It would not matter to them if I wore a sweat suit or Armani. The size of my body, the condition of my skin, the color and style of my hair do not matter; all they care about is that my hands and voice deliver love and not blows. They seem to have an instinctual understanding that love is love and it does not matter from whom it comes.
The Buddha states many time that the human condition is the best opportunity to become enlightened. Why? For animals, most acts are based on instinct. They know what it is like to petted so any hand will do. They react to stimuli in their environment and act based on the instinct to fight or fly. But humans, however, are different. We have the ability to judge each situation and person and determine how to act. This allows us to discriminate and judge what we think is best. But do we really know what is best? What is a hug from a homeless man or a model when you need human contact? The difference is the perspective we place on the outward appearance. There isn’t much thought given to the humanity of the homeless man…just that his clothes are bad and society has deemed him untouchable. The model, who may be vapid and mean, is what we deem beautiful and desireable.
The feelings we have about the homeless man and the model are just stories and perceptions and are the basis of prejudice. At some point, we have to cut through these delusions and begin to see each person as a part of ourselves, as the mirror that reflects our own condition. Our desire to be loved and partnered to a particular type of person limits our experience and can lead to loneliness. Maybe, we should be more like animals when it comes to love and accept it from any who choose to give it us. Our attractions to physical form will only be fulfilled as long as that form remains the same, but age and time will definitely change that form, but love can remain throughout.
Maybe it is time to be open to love from whatever form presents it to us.