[Abstracted from Catherine Ingram’s universally acclaimed book- 'Passionate Presence'.
Published with glad consent of the author –Editor]
After some times she saw them: two sets of footprints along the shore; one set made by little feet. Farther along the prints had washed away; gone without a trace. This is the nature of all things, she reflected; each footprint, creature, plant, rock, and galaxy on a course of becoming, disintegrating, and ceasing to exist. Everything dissolving in time, all subject to annihilation at any moment. She considered the poignancy of existence, the inevitability of love and loss. Her recognition, unsentimental yet tender, induced feelings of compassion for all that lived, all that had lived, all that would live. The beings of time.
Even now one of them caught her eye. A large beetle on the path had somehow toppled into its back, its wriggling legs announcing its will to live and blending with her own. Without thought she swiftly responded. Gathering up two large leaves she carefully placed one on each side of the beetle and gently scooped it right side up. She watched it scurry to the safety of nearby foliage.
Over twenty years ago, while staying in Bodh Gaya, India, my friends and I began hearing rumors about a boy who had allegedly been found among wild dogs. The rumor in town was that his seemingly canine behavior, lack of speech, inability to walk upright or to eat with his hands indicated that he had probably been raised among the dogs. We were intrigued. So it was with enthusiasm that I accepted an invitation to see the boy at a private gathering with the Dalai Lama, who had expressed an interest in the child. The meeting was to be held at the Gandhi Ashram where the boy was staying among a group of social workers and behavioral therapists who had assembled around him. A friend and I attended the meeting of about twenty people.
Judging from his size, the child appeared to be about five or six years old. Crawling on all fours, his eyes darting from side to side, he was like a frightened animal. Seeing him made me uneasy, such as when I have seen depictions of creatures that are half human and half some other animal. I felt a primal recoil from something alien. This surprised me because I had expressed compassion to be my primary response to the boy.