Thoughts, and an Ant
It’s early morning. I’m having coffee and reminiscing over my misfortunes and what could have been better.
My thoughts progress to the path I have chosen, or rather, the one chosen for me. I make a concerted effort to bring my mind to the essence, to remember the teachings. Thoughts start moving away from the misfortunes, towards fortunes: to be sitting where I am, clothed, a place to stay, fed, kept. Thoughts remind me now how good I have it, saying I have no idea most of the time how good my life is.
For most of us this is a reality – this unawareness. In honesty I try to have faith in my teacher’s words: that all is written – that everything is part of a plan, that all is towards the good.
Suddenly thoughts jolt me: How, when it started seconds ago dwelling on my spiritual path, my mind started drifting away from the negative towards the positive. It occurs to me that what I busy myself with is what I become. And then thoughts at last silence me, momentarily focus me…
A black ant is walking towards me on the kitchen counter. Seems to be searching for something, probably food, I think. Been working long and hard to get here, I suppose. But I cleaned the counter last night, with an industrial cleaner, “… that might cause harm to you, ant. Here, let me help you…”
I look for a piece of paper, carefully placing it in front of the ant for it to step onto without effort. Willing it to trust. “I will not hurt you, ant. I know you don’t know, but I’m going to put you outside in the garden where there are good things for you. No danger, lots of food, nature. That’s where you belong. Trust me, I can see it clearly.”
See it clearly? Can I? Do I?
Ant hesitates, mistrusting. It takes small steps onto the paper. I pick up the paper with the ant and slowly walk into the early morning sunshine, taking care. I put the paper down among the leaves for the ant to get off, and it does.
As I walk back, thoughts return. What have I just done? Have I settled an old debt or created a new imbalance? The ant must have been seriously shaken. After probably having worked the whole night, climbing vertical cupboards, struggling upside down, no doubt, to reach the top, towards what it was sure would be very good, it is taken away and put down somewhere else – where, initially, there might be daunting surroundings – scared, alone.
So, do I see? I smile as it strikes me, and I realize again I do not see. I almost laugh out loud as I tell my ego that I am not yet as conscious as I so wisely told the ant just now.
Who is the wise one here? Me or the ant? From a higher perspective, albeit still very limited, I could see what is better for the ant. It trusted me. So the least I should be able to do from this higher perspective where I think I am, is to realize how much higher the saints’ perspectives are. How they can see what I cannot. What they know that I don’t. How I am assisted every day in ways I cannot understand.
But more… Because the saints can see, they tell us that if we have faith and trust, they will show us the way. We can experience for ourselves the higher truth – experience the science of the soul. They suggest our actions and thinking, and if followed as prescribed, they assure us of the outcome. All we need is faith.
Kinder towards myself, I accept that I am here, now, and that I will struggle and fall. But this morning is bright with sunshine. For me and for an ant. And at last I’m silently reminded that my effort is all that is required. My sincere effort. And the faith of an ant.