Reverence for All Life

“Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I undertake to cultivate compassion and learn 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 condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.” — Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist monk, peace activist, scholar, and poet

by Judy Andreas

Have we lost our reverence for life? It often appears that way. And yet, I believe that deep within each of us lies a place that is too seldom visited; a place where hate, anger and self-indulgence are unwelcome; a place where compassion dwells.

The world is filled with anger, hatred and injustice. I hear the cries of people as they point their fingers at the assumed “culprits” and assure themselves that their rants are part of the solution. Sadly, I suspect that they are entirely missing the mark.

Ultimately, we are all responsible. Yes, all of us! Unless we assume that responsibility, nothing will change. We are the problem and we are the solution. To target “the other” is both the depth of unconsciousness and the height of dishonesty.

We must take a fearless examination of ourselves and our relationship with every living creature. How do we treat our fellow human beings? How do we react to people who appear different? How do we respond to people in need ?

Life is incredibly precious, and moment by moment it is slipping away. There is not a minute to waste. The time is now and it always has been and always will be… now. This is the time to put an end to the violence. This is the time to be truly alive.

When we are truly alive, everything we do or touch is a miracle. When we are truly alive, we can appreciate and honor the beauty of life. When we are truly alive, we will do everything in our power to protect life. ALL life.

Albert Schweitzer said, “If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life.”

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