C1. Indifference kills.
The mind’s blackout due to his personal issues deprived me from the possibility to perform active interest and take immediate action, and so I did not see so long to attach a large noticeable sign on the packaging of the food for the goldfishes saying in bold red letters: “Attention! Only ten flakes per day!”.
As a result, yesterday came the lady who cleans up our office, and for the first time she decided to feed the fishes, which she had never done in the one and half year we had had them. She gave them much more than their bodies could tolerate, and they literally blasted out of too much food. Yesterday I saw them suffering, but it did not come to my mind to change their water, so as to protect them from eating the excess food which was diluted in it. And so, today we found them dead, floating on the water surface in their bowl, burst and deformed. The view I saw shook me up, because it denoted how much they had suffered before they died.
So, the first time I neglected prevention and the second time I neglected to intervene. In both cases I had thought of it, but this was evidently not enough, as it was ultimately proved. I neglected to earth my thought immediately, like I have done so often in my life. I left it floating in the air, unearthed, merely stressing me slightly at times, but not in a sufficient degree so as to make me earth it. Had I done so, maybe the fishes could have been saved.
Since many years ago I have said to myself that I want to attend first aid seminars, in order to be able to help some brothers who might be in danger while I am present, but I have not done so yet, for the same reason for which I did not take enough care of the fishes: my mind is occupied by his own familiar anxieties.
I am interested in my brothers’ happiness, but this interest is not strong enough to eclipse my anxieties about my personal issues, which constantly occupy my mind and monopolize his thoughts and my activities. The truth is that due to this attitude of mine many of my brothers have suffered, often even without me realizing it, because I was not interested enough to not harm them unwittingly or to help them.
I have many times suffered and regretted my indifference and promised to myself that the next time I shall stay alert, but in practice this has not happened or has only happened occasionally. Nor will it happen in a satisfactory degree, unless I make the decision to dedicate as much time as needed first to the reconciliation with my indifferent self and then to his gentle and affectionate guidance, so as to enable him to get liberated from the thoughts which trouble his mind and do not allow him to respond promptly and lovingly cover the needs of all creatures he knows, without being complacent even for a single moment. Through this training the mind will sometime be able to achieve to constantly pulsate by compassion and care for all sentient beings of this world, undistracted from personal worries which up to now have been disorientating him and repressing his inherent salutary potential to a huge degree, almost completely.
This same indifference makes me kill many small bugs which are as unlucky as to be in the washbasin when I hastily and nervously open the tap, without even thinking of dedicating a few seconds to the removal of the bugs with my hands. My mind is fixed elsewhere at that time, upon his own thoughts, as if he were assigned to settle the Middle East conflict. But the life goes on, the events succeed each other here and now, and my absent-minded mind awkwardly sweeps off their protagonists and unintentionally annihilates them by trampling upon them, either at a physical or at an emotional level.
Once upon a time, I remember, when I was a child, on the veranda of our summer house, I used to pass endless hours of bored laziness while torturing ants and destroying their burrows. They fell victims of the emotional void of a typical spoilt progeny of a bourgeois family, who only knows to desire and demand and who has not learned to appreciate the gift of life and the rest of the gifts of nature. He has not learned to rejoice with them, and therefore he gets bored and tramples upon them, while he carries around his flabby body, vainly hoping that something exciting will occur to break into his fusty boredom.
Now I bend down silently and from the bottom of my heart I ask the two little souls of the fishes to forgive me. They left their bodies a few hours ago after an agonizing torture which lasted several hours, and now, having fulfilled this burdensome obligation, they calmly move away to continue their unknown course within the safe and fascinating universe of their creator.
Now they have certainly settled down and no longer suffer, but I still feel the need to ask for their apology and forgiveness and confess to them that the negligence of my troubled mind was the one which tortured and killed them. Namely, I explain to them that, since I was a child, I have learned to consider my personal problems as more important even than the very gift of life and that I have never been systematically trained to forget myself and hustle to wherever the creatures of this world scream with despair. The world of my anguished thoughts absorbs my mind so much that I lose contact with the outer world to a considerably high extent, even under critical circumstances.
That’s why yesterday at noon I did not listen to the instant thought which prompted me to change their water so as to possibly save their lives and, instead, stood near them aloof and kept watching them like a fool, while they desperately struggled to move, and I merely wished for them to survive. The changing of the water required action; it was a task that took concentration and attention, as I had to first take the two little fishes out of their bowl and put them into a separate small container with water, then change the water of the fishbowl and finally throw the fishes back to it. All this seemed too complicated to my mind, because he was absorbed by the woman and the gold at that time, and so I once again settled for barren wishful thinking.
Now I explain all this to them, with much pain in my heart, very regretful, with a fear for the future, for I wonder what will happen if sometime my negligence kills a human instead of a goldfish. How shall I feel then? Their souls are calm and quiet while they go, I know it; I can see them while they are moving away, they are in good hands. They have been loved so much while they lived with us, and now they are going filled with positive energy of love to the next station of their journey in the universe. Farewell!
And I stay behind alone, together with billions of creatures, feeling responsible for all banes and sufferings that take place on the other side of the planet, for the hunger, the poverty, the distress of people, because it is due to my persistent fixation upon my own little problems that they are deprived from the practical and substantial benefits of the love that I have inside me by birth but neglect to offer them, even though they need them so much. Every few seconds a child starves to death, having met only desperation during its short life and not having even imagined of the existence of abundance, prosperity, joy and carelessness. Before I finish writing this very chapter, some more children will have passed away due to hunger or easily curable diseases!
Indifference kills. I am so sad and disappointed that I wonder whether I still have the right to live, since a few hours ago due to my indifference I deprived two innocent and unsuspecting creatures from the irreplaceable gift of life.
 Here my logic temporarily protests and cries out to me: “Why so much fuss about two mere goldfishes? They are neither the first not the last ones to blast out of too much food. Besides, millions of fishes perish every day in the nets of the fishermen, after squirming first for a few hours”. But I no longer listen to such quick-fix rationalizations. I no longer fear the pain and do not seek ways to sugarcoat any pill. Those were the little fishes I personally had in my responsibility, and their death indicates my own unreliability. Let me admit it; it is of no use to bring the logic to the fore in order to avoid pain. I have been already doing this a lot throughout my life, and the only thing I achieved in this way was to become aloof, frosty, stony and indifferent. Enough! I want to be humane, even if I pain. The pain will go one day and what will remain will be its sprout, that is to say knowledge, reliability, care and love. Whereas, if I bypass the pain once again, what will remain will be a cold heart and the sorrow for my mediocre life, and this is something that I do not want for myself, because I find it too poor and miserable.