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Lesson of the Dung Beetle

by Ian Kennedy

The Dung Beetle like all other creatures are an integral part of the ecosystem they find themselves in. Nature has no wasted effort. Everything and everyone have a place and function within her existence. There are many kinds of bung beetles, the best known being the rolling dung beetle. These are the ones that not only find nourishment, purpose, and accommodations for its eggs in another animal’s waste it also buries 250 times its own body weight in dung into the soil every day. Its very existence and purpose are literally rolled up in its dung ball. Often the ball of dung has far outgrown the beetle in size and mass. The Beetle thrives and contributes to the cycle of life through the working of its dung ball, the very survival of the species depending on it.  It does have drew backs. The beetle cannot see what is right in front of it as it rolls its dung ball ever forward, and It must protect its dung ball from all other dung rolling beetles.

If we look, we can see that people in so many ways are very much like the dung beetle. We have over time collected all sorts of dung. The things that we push around before us such as our mental dung, emotional dung, physical dung, dung full of believes, prejudice dung, physical possession dung, relationship dung, children dung, job dung, education dung, judgment dung and so on. When we stop and think about it, we can see how we have easily accumulated a big dung ball in our life very quickly that we push around all over the place often subjecting others to our big ball of dung. 

 Now, if we push this dung ball around long enough and stare at it intently enough, we can easily become associated with the dung ball we have gathered, and this is how we become entangled with it. This entanglement leads to a feeling that the dung ball is more than just ours, that somehow, the dung ball, in a sense, has become us in so many ways. It is what I present to the world not only as mine but also as me. We add to our dung ball but really do we know how to take away from it and lesson the load we push around.  

Now, I am not saying that we should abandon this precious dung ball all together never to push it again. I am sure that it takes a good amount of effort to drop our dung ball completely.  I am suggesting that at times, to put it aside and see how it feels to be out from behind it and what is truly before us when the dung ball is out of our view. It takes practice to step from behind the dung ball and gaze into what has always been in front of us. Our dung ball has always blocked the view of what is just beyond it. Our dung ball has done many things for us. It has at times given us a sense of security and subsistence. We relied on it as a buffer between us and the world and life in general.  It has acted as a barometer, a gage between success and failure. Our dung ball has given us a perception of who we are, but that perception is one only from behind it. It has never and can never give us clarity as to who we are out from behind it.

Awareness of our dung ball is the first and most vital step in learning that we not only have a personal dung ball that we have built and accumulated over time, but that we can from time to time step from behind it, set it aside and experience who we are and what the world is without it in front of us. We can always go back to our dung ball and push if we wish. We do not have to worry about our dung ball since we now know that we can always find more dung to add to it, or even make a brand-new dung ball anytime we want.  There is always plenty of dung around.  With this realization however it is unlikely that we would put any energy or effort into creating a new dung ball once we have put aside our old one. Once I see that my dung ball is of my own creating and is not me and that it keeps me from seeing my true path that is before me, it becomes natural to no longer create and push a dung ball.  Nature has much to teach us if we take the time and awareness to absorb her lessons. Nature holds a mirror of truth before us always. There is no waste, no good or bad, no right or wrong. There is only life and the pursuit of its existence. Man is gifted with the ability for consciousness. The ability to rise above instinct and compulsion. To act consciously.  It is my hope that we can all steep from behind our dung ball occasionally and someday even put them aside and walk away from them for good as a part of who we think we are. We should see them for what there are use them to our advantage.  By stepping from behind our dung ball we can expand our awareness into greater horizons of being that awaits us.  


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