Dung Beetles: Rolling Shit with Excellence

Uncategorized Jun 16, 2019
(A little story from Anandra)
I almost stepped on this triumphant pair of dung beetles rolling a perfectly round ball of shit up a hill on a Himālayan trail. They taught me a valuable lesson about excellence in ground-level service.

I was heading down from a majestic spot, having finally recovered the ability to walk after an extended state of expanded awareness. It happens spontaneously sometimes... I become so in love with life that my awareness absorbs and contains it. I weep in awe and wonder at every tiny thing. Each breath is an infinity. Moving slowly is the only way to move, when I must. (For reference, it’s almost exactly like a good psychedelic mushroom trip —which I did a few times in my teens but haven’t for ages now — but without the nausea or nervous system hangover.)

My companions on that day will remember the magical vibe, and the hilarity of my predicament as we were supposed to get back for the lunch that was being prepared for us by our sweet āśram chef who I hate to disappoint. My expanded awareness couldn’t quite condense in time to make it for the meal, so they went ahead but I did manage to get myself down the mountain after I could walk again.

When I saw these dung beetle guys, I stopped for about a half hour to watch them, listen to them, and save them from being carelessly stepped on by Mahesh, the handsome village boy carrying hand-milled boards down the mountain on his shoulder. I remember being absolutely thrilled to meet these new creature friends!

A month later, I realize why the dung beetle video is the only thing that I captured on that day.

  • They’re rolling a ball of precious, digested wisdom.
  • They’re doing together what neither could do alone.
  • They’re focused on none other than the task at hand.
  • They move up, over, and around obstacles without pause.
  • They’re on the ground level, with focus and excellence.

I like to imagine they have a pile of shit balls sitting in their dung beetle lair, and that wealth of digested wisdom is the safety of their community and the hope of their future.

In summary:
Not to brag, but rather to be frank about my inner life, those expanded states have been common enough for me for decades that I don’t miss them when it’s time to condense into service. When I’m engaged at the ground level (and anything from writing a book, to developing an online course, to making lunch is, compared to those sky dancing states), I remind myself that the exquisite care that these dung beetles embody is as equally and non-preferentially marvelous as the expansion.

That’s the lesson I’m pondering today as I push dozens of ball-projects up, over, and around obstacles with my dear companions working with me to share the wisdom of sacred sound with what is often a hungry, despondent, disconnected, fearful world.

Thanks to all of my dear companions helping move so many balls. And to the future... Let’s roll! 🤣❤️🤣


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