One afternoon, a fly fell into my tea. This was a minor occurrence. As I lifted my cup, I must have registered, by a small grunt, the presence of the fly.
Choegyal leaned forward in sympathy and consternation, "What is the matter?" "Just a fly in my tea.", I said. After all, I was a seasoned India-wallah, relatively free of Western phobias and attachments to modern sanitation.
Choegyal crooned softly, "Oh, oh, a fly in the tea." "It's no problem," I reiterated, smiling at him reassuringly.
But he leaned over and inserted his finger gently into my tea. With great care he lifted out the offending fly, and then exited from the room.
When Choegyal re-entered the cottage he was beaming. "He is going to be all right.", he told me quietly. He explained how he had placed the fly on the leaf of a branch, where his wings could dry. And the fly was still alive, because he began fanning his wings, and we confidently expect him to take flight soon...
That is what I remember of that afternoon - not the agreements we reached or plans we devised, but Choegyal's report that the fly would live. I could not, truth to tell, share Choegyal's dimensions of compassion, but the pleasure in his face revealed how much I was missing by not extending my self-concern to all beings, even to flies.
~ Joanna Macy
I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion.
~ Lao Tzu