Beauty and fragility

Discussion in 'Coffee House' started by Mark Dohle, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. Mark Dohle

    Mark Dohle Archangels


    Beauty and fragility
    (Written September 2016)

    Insects are a problem for us. I guess you could say we are at war with them, a war we can’t win, but can only hold them back. We have ‘people’ come in and spray around certain areas of the retreat house in order to keep insects out. Or if they come in, they do not live long. They cross over an invisible line that will poison them in short order. The main reason we do this is to get the palmetto bugs (roaches for some) that like to come in seeking water etc. We have lots of trees so they can come in that way if a window is open, or even come in when bags or boxes are delivered to the retreat house. Outside the retreat house where they belong, I have no problem with them; it is when they are inside that all options are off…..they have to die!

    I don’t mind crickets, I have even had them for pets, Spiders don’t bother me either, yet they to must be controlled or their numbers could get out of hand in the retreat house. Ants, silverfish, the list is very long. So yes, insects want to invade, we don’t want them to, so we get defensive with them.

    Some insects do intrigue me, however. In our dining room, next to our coffee machine, under the light that shines over our white paper coffee cups that are next to our regular coffee cups, I will often find some flying insects there. They are fragile, tiny, and seem to only live for one night. When I come in their tiny bodies are lying on top of the paper cups and a few were still alive. Now I get up early, around 2:30, so if they are dying by that time, their life cycle must be very short. They can’t come in from the outside. Not sure where they are born etc. They are attracted by the light and perhaps the reflection off the paper cups. They weigh very, very, little and even the live ones if you breathe on them they will blow away. Their fragility brings out a tenderness in me that I would not normally have for the more aggressive in-your-face kind of insects. Their lives are so short and they are so defenseless and easily destroyed that I feel a certain free-floating affection for them. To see one laying there dead makes me sad. Yes, it is kind of pathetic, isn’t it?

    Perhaps it brings to mind our own situation. Those little insects in the few hours that they exist; do in fact have a full life. They are born, mate, perhaps eat a little, what I am not sure and then die. Just like humans and all life on this planet. Well, except they do not know that they are going to die. I suppose they are not aware of my existence, though as I walk by, they may feel the change of pressure or even some wind that may actually blow them away.

    They have a full life and live in a world that I don’t understand, but to them, that is their little frequency of existence. So it is with us.

    About a month ago a woman retreatant asked if she could visit our cemetery in the back of our monastic church. I said yes, but had to accompany her. As we were out there she looked at the graves and started reading the dates on some of the far-away grave markers. I was astounded that she could do that. There was no way I could read the markers that she could see clearly. I asked her what her vision was. She said something like 16/17, which I never heard of. She told me that her vision was much better than the average human being. So she pointed to the trees in the back of the cemetery and asked me what I saw. So I told her. I saw leaves of course, limbs, etc. So she told me what she saw. She saw little dead leaves that I could not; she could even see large insects etc. As she was talking to me and explaining what to her, her normal world was, was to me, a revelation since I could never see beyond a certain range. So my full world, which also exists within a certain frequency, was a little different from hers, narrower and more limited.

    Our senses open up a lot for us, as well as our intuition. Even humans don’t always live in the same world. Our intelligence, education, and the depth of our sixth sense can make our world unique to each human, though there is also a commonality that unites us. What does having a relationship with the Infinite do for us? It can open us up to a broader way of looking at reality, a way of breaking out of the suffocating mundane-ness that our everyday lives can become. It can also open us up to the possibility that our deepest longings also tell us something about the nature of reality.

    Faith could ground us in the reality of the ongoing mystery of our existence and the possibility of a revelation of an intelligence way beyond anything we can understand or imagine. The difference between me and those beautiful little fly insects cannot even begin to be compared to infinite intelligence compared to the greatest of human intellects. For we will always live in a certain frequency and not be able to go beyond it, except perhaps by faith. Even in human relationships, it takes a certain faith to trust and love another human being. If that act of trust can’t be undertaken, then our world is truncated even if we don’t know it.-Br.MD
  2. Mario

    Mario Powers

    Yes, Br. Mark: If that act of trust can’t be undertaken, then our world is truncated even if we don’t know it.
    Mark Dohle likes this.

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