Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Respecting Another - Gaining their Respect - and Receiving Honour (+Video Clip)

I found another wonderful video (below article) of some wonderful animals. It seems I keep coming back to them to learn some of the most crucial lessons in life. There are so many "people" around who think of man in the most derogatory of ways, yet they turn to animals in love. Many will donate thousands of dollars to "Save the Whale" foundations and the like, while leaving an orphaned bride to fend for herself. 

Perhaps when I think of this, I myself find myself turning to seeing the wonders of animals in the hope of sharing their lessons to us, so that we can learn to include the beautiful qualities they have, within ourselves. Seeing their beauty should encourage us to behave with each other with at least as much love as many of us bestow upon them. Indeed, the words that G-d recited, "Let us create man" hint to the fact that G-d included all of creation in man. He called all of creation together and brought it all into the being He called "Man." 

On our side, it is up to us to find those beautiful sparks of all creation and bring them out into the world. This may mean turning to a leaf and finding out it's beauty and sharing that part of beauty as a human - with others. It may mean turning to an ant - and finding out it's beauty - and making that a part of our inner being. It may even mean turning to a gorilla - to find out something beautiful about it - to make ourselves just a little more beautiful too! What ever could we learn from a gorilla?!

I wondered about the idea of learning great things from a young person too. How many elderly people would be prepared to humble themselves and learn from a youngster?! I found myself thinking of the gorilla - and a "youngster" by the name of Shimon ben Zoma. Most people don't know him by this name, but rather simply as "ben Zoma" - "son of Zoma." You can find one of his most beautiful teachings in Pirkei Avot chapter 4 Mishna 1. He asks, "Who is honoured?" and answers, "One who honours others!" Ben Zoma was not even called by his complete name, because he was so young, that - so-to-speak, he had not yet gained a status for himself. He was only some 18 years old at the time of saying this statement - and for this reason receives his own honour from his father - Zoma. And yet, he (the "youngster") has something to teach us. It has to do with nothing less than honour and respect! Who would imagine himself listening to such a youngster about advice regarding the subject of "respect"?! But those in the know, know very well that ben Zoma, though just a "youngster" was one of the four outstanding rabbis (together with Rabbi Akiva) who entered into the Pardes - learning and experiencing the deepest secrets of Torah - entering worlds filled - not with gorillas, but with angels!

Ben Zoma can teach us a thing or two about real respect - which as he indicates is about honouring the other. He well understands real respect - because he has seen angels. But what of us (most anyway!) who have never seen angels - but only gorillas?! We need but peak into one story (video below) to see what real respect is.

Imagine it for a moment, a troop of gorillas - lead by "Daddy" a massive beast with a "mean" temper who could probably kill a human with one slap of his arm! They're on their way walking down a path, and you're sitting filming... them! They're just a few feet away. Are you looking to live? If so, bowing your head and not looking directly at the family might be your ticket to "this world." Anything less, could cost you your life! 

Just a little respect to one who is so much stronger can have wonderful consequences though. Suddenly the "baby" comes by and begins to "groom" you... and with love. "Dad" sits and watches just to make sure everything is safe... Later, "Mom" comes by too and she too has some love to give. It even all ends with a kiss... Then it's over, and "Dad" together with the troop leave. Spectacular! Can you imagine the feeling? I mean of being groomed by these powerful beasts of course... On the one hand feeling completely humbled in the presence of "beasts" who can kill with the swipe of their arms. And on the other hand, feeling loved, taken care of, and special. May we even say - feeling "honoured"?

That is truly what life is about. We forget too quickly how great many others truly are. We believe we are already the greatest, that nothing can stop us. We are powerful with large bank accounts to our names, big bodies, attractive and... everything. But every so often, just so easily - something can happen to turn it around. After all, all the money in the world, would not save the man below should he offer it to the gorilla in order that it not hurt him. And all the beauty in the world would not stop the gorilla from any perceived threat to it... Don't forget, "Daddy" is watching...

We are all human, and our most important attribute we could ever own - is to be able to give respect to the other - no matter who they are. To honour them for their greatness - no matter who they are. To respect them because they too might have their own family - or perhaps even just want one! But we forget quickly... 

But what's amazing, what's so special, is not that we give this honour, nor that we show the respect that's actually due. What's really special is that when we do humble ourselves, sit quietly and show the respect where it is needed, we can look forward to good things in turn. We can look forward to the other - one day perhaps, or even right now - taking care of us, "grooming" us and showing us their love. We may even receive a kiss of love - because it was never their intention to hurt. It was only our perception of their being worth nothing...

So the story ends - and we come back to those wise words. Words said by a "youngster" of just 18 years of age. We are not even familiar with his first name. Ben Zoma - the son of Zoma teaches us, "Who is honoured", and he answers, "One who honours others."

For full article see: Wild Gorillas Groom Man During Park Visit

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