I was walking my little dog Milly by the beach at dawn this morning and we came across an injured lorikeet (native Australian bird), unable to fly back into the trees, and therefore a target for dogs and cars. Milly went crazy, thankfully restrained from doing further harm by her lead. Another lorikeet flew down as if to check on this bird, which I found so fascinating, defying fear of the humans that had gathered around.
The bird was obviously sick and broken..the kindest thing would be to euthanise it. (Why is it we know the kindest thing to do to animals that are suffering and yet feel so righteous about prolonging human suffering?)
My heart broke for this birds plight. There really was no happy ending, except a quick death.
If only I had not have walked by at this moment, on this morning. Because now I know. But I had walked by. I was a witness.
When we move from not knowing to knowing, everything changes…we move from innocence to responsibility.
I cannot deny I know. I cannot deny that in my knowing I now have choices. And these choices may exact a high price.
Do I walk away and leave the bird to the harshness of nature?
Do I pick up the bird and take it somewhere to be cared for?
And I thought about the burden of knowing in other domains…
When we know our partner is betraying us, do we choose to ignore it? Act on it? Forgive? Step over?
When we know that how humans are living on Earth is destroying Earth, do we do something, or not? Is our something an act, or words of complaint?
When we know that our ‘masters’ of finance are raping and pillaging, that the very system upon which we have built our world is creating exactly the extremes of poverty that we see…what do we do? Say a prayer of gratitude that it is not me that is in poverty? Or do we act?
With knowledge comes responsibility. Yet our schools (and homes) are hell bent on cramming our heads with knowledge and doing little to build the muscle of responsibility.
Responsibility is to act…to no longer be the innocent bi-stander.
Mostly we know, yet we do nothing. This is the tragedy of the human condition. This is our collective shame.
What did I do?…in the beginning I walked away from the bird. But his little soul would not leave me in peace. I came back…to take him to a vet to be euthanized. He was gone.
This little bird was my teacher today…my lesson on being a human..a responsible human.
Because I have dedicated my life to knowing so much, I have much more to be responsible for. This is the way of it. There is much to be done.