When I was young we spent time at our aunt’s farm in the south of Ireland. She had 5 milking cows, all had names, and when she sat and milked them in the morning and evening, great conversations would be had. With the cows that is.
It was there I learned to milk a cow, to hear the sound of the swish-swish into the bucket. To see the bucket fill up with white goodness, and to marvel at the natural wonder of cows and milk. It was there I saw the connection between human and animal as I watched my aunt sit beside the great creature, rest her head on the cow’s body as she milked and talked and sang to them.
It was there I also saw the same cows being taken away to slaughter and I couldn’t understand it. How could we treat the animals so personally and then send them away without a second thought? My aunt never seemed to feel remorse or at least never expressed it.
We often have this great divide in our heads – we are shocked at children locked in cages yet we have no problem aborting a child in the womb. We love our dogs as we gorge down on other lovable animals. We treat some humans with respect and despise and humiliate others. What is wrong with us?
Part lazy, part greedy, part foolish, part great avoiders of facing complicated questions with no easy answers – we learn in the Vedas that we are influenced by 3 modes of nature. That’s it. Just 3 – goodness, passion, and ignorance. We have all experienced the 3 modes and how they mix and match and come and go in our lives.
The goal is to come to goodness – conscious awareness, conscious choice, and respect for all life. From goodness, we can rise to transcendence – stepping away from or above the 3 modes to experience ourselves as something completely different.
Come sit by our cows, lean into them, and learn about goodness. They have a lot more than milk to offer us. Receive it, and them, with love and gratitude.