Non-humans are not connected to the world via conceptual mind and, therefore, they have no problems about realizing the non-dual nature of reality itself. The egoless nature of reality itself is perfectly obvious to the non-humans.
Of course, certain species of non-humans become humanized. For example, dogs become incorporated into the human cycle, and thereby learn all kinds of habits, inclinations, and patterns. Dogs, thus humanized, do develop a kind of thought-pattern that can interfere with their otherwise innate contemplative awareness, just as it interferes with the awareness of humans.
The non-humans that are closest to humans are kept in conditions in which they cannot really live well. As a result, they become the most neurotic. Go to any zoo, and you can see that this is so.
The zoo and the city are similar. The non-humans do not generally construct space in the exaggerated manner of the humans. Non-humans create large territories, and they are likewise freer within the territories that they create than human beings are. However, the territorial instinct of non-humans is an expression of point-of-view.
Human beings exaggerate the territorial impulse to the extent that they are even psychologically contracted upon a point – the point-of-view. On the basis of point-of-view, human beings construct spaces in which they confine themselves. And they live as Narcissus in the virtual space of mind, rather than in actual space. Narcissus does not move about, but only sits staring at himself in a mirror. Like Narcissus, human beings do a great deal of living in mental space, staring at their own minds. In such a condition, it does not make any difference how much you might hike in the woods. You are still sitting in front of a mirror, experiencing spatial confinement through your own mentality.
Non-humans do occasionally make use of mirrors – they see reflections and shadows – yet they certainly do not make the same use of mirrors that human beings do.
Human beings use the mirror as an extension of the mind, to create the idea of themselves.
How much of an idea of herself does the dog in my house have?
The inkling of herself that the dog has is not nearly so complex, or so constant and obsessive, as the self-image of human beings.
Human beings live in a domain of self-consciousness and self-projection through self-imagery, to such an extent that they do not exist otherwise, and reality itself is lost to them.
“How can the one in the mirror survive? How does the self-image continue?” These are the questions that human beings ask. They are not looking at the real process of life and death.
They are only meditating on the self-image or the mental reflection. Like everyone else, you are anxious for the survival of that projection.
You are afraid of death because you do not know by what means the one that you call your “self” continues. Yet, in actuality, you are not examining your real situation, because if you were, you would discover the real significance of life and death, and you would realize the situation in which the process of life and death is occurring.
Your fear of death is the consequence of your self-imagery, your self-reflection, mentalizing, dissociation, self-contraction, identity with point-of-view – the locatedness that is based on self-reflection, and that you and all humankind suffer.
Non-humans suffer dissociation similarly to one degree or another – they suffer more the more they associate with human beings. Nevertheless, generally speaking, they are much less bound by limitation than human beings are.
What kind of ego-bondage do you observe in mosquitoes or micro-organisms?
They exist in an eco-sphere, not in an ego-sphere.
Human beings, on the other hand, live in an ego-sphere, and human suffering largely springs from that sphere, projected on a situation that humankind does not understand – because human beings are only living in a projection and being anxious about its survival.
Traditionally, human beings looked to the non-humans as a source of wisdom, a connection to a larger sphere of existence. Such sensitivity is an intuitive recognition of the different state of the non-humans.
Human beings have sacrificed animals in order to connect with the divine.
Eventually, rather than the connection with the divine, the sacrifice of non-humans itself became paramount, and the result – as in the present day – is a global society of human beings who are eating animals obsessively.
Now there is only the killing and the eating of the animal, and the global propaganda that one must eat animals to acquire protein in order to survive – an absurd notion with which human beings are associated by common agreement, through their perpetual propaganda.
It is true that the non-humans do not show the bondage to point-of-view and self-projection that human beings do. So, humans debate the question, “Are animals conscious?”
But what is the real question?
Obviously, animals are conscious. Clearly, they are aware in exactly the same fundamental way as you are, apart from all your thinking and self-projection. What are people suggesting when they wonder whether or not animals have consciousness?
They are asking, “Do animals have self-consciousness? Are they aware of themselves as an independent individual?” – as if self-awareness is the primary, if not only, proof that one is aware that one exists.
That focus on self-consciousness is human propaganda – the measure human beings are making of other entities. If human beings decide that an entity is not self-conscious, human beings think that this somehow gives them the right to control, exploit, and murder the beings that are deemed non-self-conscious. Therefore, human beings have established a vast, terrible, cruel industry of killing non-humans all over the world. The justification for this is a false view of non-humans.
The right, traditional, view is based on sensitivity to the non-humans – feeling their state, and feeling how human beings can benefit from being and doing likewise. Where animals were killed, traditionally, it was done in a ritual manner – not obsessively, all day and night. Traditional animal sacrifice was occasional and always performed in a sacred manner.
Truly, the killing of animals need not be done at all. For human beings, just being around non-humans, observing them, is a lesson.
What is the difference between animals and humans?
Fundamentally, the non-humans are not existing in an ego-sphere. They exist in an eco-sphere – a space-time domain without ego-consciousness.
The ego-consciousness of human beings is a mental fabrication, an invention of human beings for their own reasons. In the present time, there exist all the billions of people in the world who are adapted to the falseness and insanity of ego-culture and all the exaggerations that result, including the abuse of non-humans.
All-day long, people find their dogs interesting to observe and interact with. Yet there is something to truly understand about the presence of dogs.
They are not in the same state as you!
Be like that state – and let them be like that state, too.
– Adi Da Samraj, May 11, 2008