Monday, March 9, 2015

The Right Stuff

I saw a short video the other day that had the most profound effect on me. The video showed a bear in what appeared to be a zoo or an animal park. The bear was sitting on the concrete next to a pool not looking very happy. In fact, the bear's body language was exactly what you would expect from a living thing that has been confined for a long time. The bear sees something in the pool and slowly lumbers over to see what it is. Something is flailing frantically in the pool, trying desperately to get out. The bear, without hesitation, reaches in and pulls out a crow. How the crow came to be drowning in the pool we don't know. As the bear calmly walks away, the bird lays there for a moment and we assume that it is dead, but suddenly there is movement and the crow is up and on its feet, free to fly away to freedom as soon as its feathers dry!

So why am I sharing this with you? Because the actions of that bear moved me beyond words. Here was an animal whose freedom had been taken from it. It was doomed to a life behind bars and enclosures, never to be free to roam and live in harmony with other bears. He got nothing out of saving that bird, a bird, I might add, that is seen by many humans to be more of a pest or a Halloween decoration than anything else. Yet the bear acted without hesitation and rescued a bird that would be able to fly away to the freedom he was denied. It was, simply, the right thing to do.

All of us have an inner wise self that always knows what the right thing to do is. So often we ignore that inner voice. Why? Sometimes because we wonder, "What's in it for me?" Or, "What will people think?", or, "What if something happens to me,?" Sometimes the right thing to do is not the popular thing like supporting a cause that is meaningful for us. I can tell you from my own experience that once I announced that I had decided to go vegan and support the cause of animal rights, I had to take a lot of heckling and verbal abuse, but for me it was the right thing to do.

I don't know that I would be able to put myself in physical danger in order to save another, although I like to think I'd try, but I know that I would do whatever I could as I'm sure most people would. The thing is that often the right thing to do doesn't always have to do with saving someones life. Often it has to do with saving our own lives in a more personal or spiritual sense. The right thing to do is what brings the most good to all concerned with harm to no one, especially us. When we stop to listen to our inner wise self, we are never wrong. We all really do have the right stuff. 

And so it is.