Today as I sat in the lobby of my office waiting for my bus after work, I happened to notice that there was a box elder bug flailing it’s various limbs around. Being that it is winter, my first thought was that this insect was in its final death throes.
Then I had a thought with which I surprised myself even. I thought maybe I should squash him. I thought this insect was doomed to suffer a long drawn-out death until it froze to death, so wouldn’t I actually be doing a good thing by getting it over with?
I began pacing back and forth before this tiny bug, and I began to chant “Om Namah Shivaya” in preparation for what I must do. I began thinking about Dr. Kevorkian, and really it got quite elaborate. But that is a topic for another post which I probably will not write.
Anyway, it surprised me that I was considering doing this because just last night my gaze fell upon a fly swatter hanging in my closet, which I have felt no reason to use for years. But in this moment, alone in that pantry with that bug, I felt like maybe there was another way of looking at squashing a bug. But then I realized that it was flopping around like that simply because it was on it’s back.
I carefully flipped it over, and watched it slowly regain its sense of direction, and begin walking away. I felt good. But then I looked out in front of me and realized that, what to the insect was like miles and miles of empty floor, lie ahead of it. It was now on its various legs, but it was still winter. Surely he was still destined to die soon, with nothing ahead of it but cold barren tundra.
I had an existential moment really. What was the point? What’s it all about, this struggle? I almost thought about crushing it again, I was so depressed for the bug. For just a moment.
Then I realized just how much that bug was putting behind it, karmically speaking, by undertaking that long, pointless, blank, bleak walk toward certain death.