You cannot miss the flies in India. Where there are cows, there are flies. There are large swarms in the sunny spots in front of the ashram and no matter where you go to hide from them there is no hiding place they can’t find. When you meditate, they land on your arms or your face, seriously challenging your concentration. Some of the students in my yoga class have outbursts over the flies, swatting them away continually. The flies don’t take it personally, however, and come right back.
Ever since the Dalai Lama’s visit, where I saw him rescue bugs from the floor so they wouldn’t be trampled, I have been examining my relationship to all things creepy crawly. I cohabitate with the ants in my bedroom peacefully. Although I get annoyed when they get into my food, I never retaliate with violence. They live here too after all, and their community is large and well established. I’m only here for a few months, and I can afford to share my honey from time to time.
I have also taken on a new perspective on the flies. As they land on my body while I meditate, instead of feeling irritated and uncomfortable, I have begun to respond with love. “Sat nam, fly,” I think. “Thank you for providing me with this opportunity to deepen my meditation practice and stay focused despite outside stimuli.” I send a vibration of love and gratitude to the flies instead of annoyance and frustration. What a powerful change that makes in the strength of my energetic field. During the powerful time of meditation, instead of offering annoyance to the world, I am free to offer gratitude.
The more I think about flies, the greater an appreciation I develop. It is easy to dismiss them as nasty creatures that hang around the cow dung on the streets. But what a miracle that what most living things dismiss as disgusting, the flies can see as an enormous blessing and a source of food and life. They recognize the fertilizer when most creatures only see the dung. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, as they say.
In one of my favorite quotes, Yogi Bhajan said, “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.” I understand this more and more everyday. I have begun to see God in the smallest fly. The Lord is in the flies, of the flies, and as the flies, too. There is a purpose for all creatures, and they are all my brothers and sisters. Thank you, Dalai Lama, for reminding me to look on the floor for opportunities to be of service. I am reminded of the Christian song that says “all creatures great and small, the Lord God made them all.” Thank you, flies, for helping me see God in the smallest things and for challenging me to strengthen and deepen my meditation practice. Sat nam, creepy crawlies!