Q: Dear Susie, I am a dragonfly and butterfly lover, but I will (without shame) squish and kill mosquitoes and sometimes wood ticks. I also detest cockroaches. Is there something “energetically” lower or worse about mosquitoes or wood ticks or cockroaches? It seems that if I were a bit more “enlightened” I would value both and know that all things have a place in this world, no matter how we feel about them.
A: I once heard of an order of monks that weren’t allowed to kill ANYTHING, even bugs, so they had to walk around with masks over their mouths so they wouldn’t accidentally swallow one, and all carried little brushes so that they could brush off all surfaces before they sat down so they wouldn’t sit on any bugs. I can understand (in theory) the practice of being respectful to all beings, whether they’re trees, or animals, or insects, but in practice it’s not quite so black and white. I used to love spiders – they were so spiritual, weaving their webs. And so clever! And beautiful, etc. etc. Whenever I’d see a spider I’d thank her for being in my life, and tell her how much I loved her. Etc. etc. Then one morning I woke up and my left eye was swollen totally shut. Upon closer examination it was discovered that I had been bitten by a spider in my sleep.
What? WHAT? We’re dear friends, Spider and me. We have an understanding, a connection, right? Wrong. Apparently in some ways I’m just a tasty snack for a little spider getting the midnight munchies. So I’ve altered my views somewhat in this whole area of what insect is worthy of living and what insect I’d rather never see again.
I don’t like wasps or bees – they scare me. I’ve been stung too many times. I don’t especially like spiders (see above story), but cockroaches and ticks don’t bother me at all. I try not to kill anything on purpose, but for the above-mentioned undesirables I don’t go out of my way to protect them too much. And if a mosquito gets me? Sorry, little mosquito – swat – I’m sure you had a good life, but… I really don’t think in terms of higher or lower energies for these insects – I think they’re all on the same plain, but WE may attach value to them, based on their physical beauty and gentleness, or our own experiences w ith them. Dragonflies – illusion – transformation – sigh – how spiritual is that? Butterflies – transformation – magic – beauty – lovely, lovely. Cockroaches – uh, anyone? (sound of cricket chirping in the ensuing silence)
Maybe you could take an altruistic approach toward insects – help them whenever possible, but if they get in your way or hurt you, be sure to have firm boundaries about acceptable behavior (works well for kids or spouses, too!) and be sure to take care of yourself. Find harmless ways of keeping the unwanteds out of your life (cayenne pepper to keep ants away, cracked eggshells to keep slugs away), bless them when possible, but defend yourself if need be.
Maybe eventually you’ll have the same feelings towards ALL insects, but in the meantime, I certainly wouldn’t beat yourself up for having judgments – after you, you’re only human, and always in a state of evolving. It sounds like you have that broader understanding of how you ‘could’ be acting, and are moving towards that, and that’s the best you can hope for. As I used to say when I golfed, “Forward movement is good.” (when the ball dribbled a few inches off the tee) You can apply that mentality not only to insects, but to all other aspects in your life – think of yourself as a work-in-progress and always be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can. And so are the cockroaches.
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