In our frequent discussions of each individual following their own path, this point often is thought of in terms of human beings alone. I suppose that is natural because we humans know those who are like us the best. We have only begun to scratch the bare surface of comprehending the life of other species. Because of this, it can be difficult to discern what constitutes a path for a giraffe or a geranium.
But when we look at our fellow humans, our task is made more difficult because subjective opinion and analysis tends to seep in. We are apt to place value judgments on what we experience. If someone heads in a direction we favor, then we might say that the person has chosen a good road to walk. If someone heads in direction we disagree with, then we might say that individual has chosen a disastrous path. More often than not, we don't look at the choices through the eyes of the one making them. We only know the vision that pertains to our eyes alone.
As I've mentioned before, I learn a lot of the lessons of Taoism through watching my pets. Each has his/her own personality and each follows a different path in life.
Last night I bought bones for my two dogs. Chewing bones is good for their teeth and it's a great way to reward them for putting up with the strange man -- me -- they live with!
As soon as Lily (the hairless dachshund) received her tasty treat, she dragged it into the front bedroom. Anytime the other dog or cat came anywhere near that room, she growled like she was ready to rip a head off. I didn't see her for hours, but I could hear her merrily chomping on her bone. Well, I think it was the new bone, but it could have been one of many because Lily likes to collect and guard every bone in the house!
Jasmine, on the other hand, is not so protective. She likes to offer her bone to me. She'll chew on it for a while, then she'll pick it up and try to drop it in my lap. I try to explain to her that I'm an ardent vegetarian -- I don't like to touch anything associated with meat -- but I think Jazzy would like nothing better than for me to use my mouth to take the bone out of her mouth. (Yuk!)
When examining these two different ways of handling bones, I don't say that one is the right way and the other is the wrong way. Each of my girls follows her own path in this regard and I simply accept them as they are. One is massively overprotective and the other is about as giving as a creature could possibly be.
Now, if only I could be so accepting of other humans!
This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.