By |2013-10-18T12:20:43+10:00October 19th, 2013|Animals, Buddhism|

Nothing happens by accident.  There are no coincidences.  Everything happens for a reason, even if you never know what that reason is. Everything is always happening for the highest good of all involved.

This concept is illustrated by an old Buddhist tale:

It is the story of an old farmer whose only horse ran away.  That evening, the neighbours gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck.  “Your farm will suffer, and you cannot plough,” they said.  “Surely this is a terrible thing to have happened to you.”  “Maybe,” said the farmer.  The next day the horse returned, but brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbours came to congratulate him and exclaim at his good fortune.  “You are richer than you were before!” they said. “Surely this has turned out to be a good thing for you, after all.”  “Maybe,” he said.  And then, the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses.  He was thrown and broke his leg, and he couldn’t work on the farm.  Again the neighbours came to offer their sympathy for the incident.  “There is more work than only you can handle, and you may be driven poor,” they said.  “Surely this is a terrible misfortune.”  The old farmer said: “Maybe.”  The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of his broken leg the farmer’s son was rejected. When the neighbours came again, they said, “How fortunate! Things have worked out after all. Most young men never return alive from the war. Surely this is the best of fortunes for you!”  And the old man said, “Maybe.”

I have come to look for the lesson in every coincidence, which is why I knew that the rat that appeared in our fernhouse had a message for me.

The day before, I had walked into the display room at work, and was confronted by the most foul smell. When I asked a colleague what was the source of this odour, I was informed that the neighbouring business had seen evidence of rats, so had placed some poison in their ceiling.  The rat had obviously chosen our ceiling space in which to die.

Imagine my surprise, when the next morning, in broad daylight, there was another rat sitting in a hanging basket in our fernhouse, fifty kilometres away from the dead one at work.  Before I even noticed its strange, gasping breaths, I knew that it was dying.

Using the techniques I had gained from the animal communication courses I had done with Pea Horsley and Billie Dean, I attempted to ask the rat if it had any messages for me, and if there was anything I could do for it.  The answer I received was this:

“No, there are no messages. I have come here so that you can see the way rats die when you poison us.”

It doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in telepathic ability between species.  It didn’t take any confidence in my abilities for me to know the truth of this message, for that is exactly what it proceeded to do – to die a slow, horrible, death.

Naturally, I was upset when I saw the rat in distress.  I called my husband, Jon, to show him, and he was even more upset than I.  You see, he had been the one who had placed the rat poison in the ceiling of our home.

He had tried everything, or so he had told himself.  He had tried the sonic rat repellent, and the humane rat trap, but nothing seemed to work.  In desperation and anger, he had flung rat poison into the ceiling space, and complained bitterly about the rat urine and faeces he discovered, and the chewed wiring he anticipated.

Now, as he watched the slow death of this sweet-looking furry creature, he cried, and declared that poison had been a coward’s way out.

I sent the rat some healing energy, but despite this, it continued to deteriorate hour by hour. It fell to the ground and crawled its way to a pot saucer filled with water. As it draped itself over the edge of the saucer, it tried to take a drink, and we could see its gasps and coughs as it inhaled some of the liquid.

We never did see it take its final breath.  My husband did try to find it, but it seemed to have disappeared.  We do know that it took at least all that day to die.

Afterwards, I went onto the internet and googled rat poison. I couldn’t bring myself to read the full story of how it works.  It mentioned something about anti-coagulants, and that it can take one or two weeks from the time of ingesting the poison till death.

The next day, my husband started sealing up all the rat-sized holes around the edge of the roof – the only proven method of keeping rats out of it.  He climbed up into the ceiling and collected up as much of the poison as he could find, and placed a humane rat trap up there instead.  And he began the long process of trying to forgive himself for causing such suffering to a living creature.

I knew that this is the reason that these rats had made their presence known to us – so that my husband would know that rat poison is not the answer, and so that I could tell everyone about his discovery.  As he said, poison is the coward’s way out – out of sight, out of mind.  The old fashioned rat trap may leave a dead body to clean up, but it is usually quick.

As a vegan, I am opposed to the killing of any animals.  I believe that ‘where there is a will, there is a way’, and that a way can be found to overcome any challenges, without resorting to killing.  However, if killing is deemed necessary, I would pray that death is as quick and painless as possible.  Rat poison definitely does not meet those criteria.

After I decided to write this blog, I went looking for the meanings of Rat totem, and one very profound meaning was that Rat can be a reflection of our human condition.  Rats are survivors and hoarders.  Although they can appear greedy, they have a kind heart and have been seen bringing food to infirm rats, and grooming other members of their clan.

Perhaps when we learn that we have enough to share with, not only the other members of our own species, but also with the other species on our planet, like the Rat, both species may come to know that we have no more need to hoard, as all of our needs are provided for.

In the meantime, I know that love is the answer to all questions, so if we look at any problems with love, we are sure to find the solutions.



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