I am eating a salad. As I sit here and ponder the magnitude of the sacrifice that the plants gave so that I could eat them, I am reminded of a greater sacrifice, one of which I was only just recently made aware.
A few weeks back, I went to a programme at the Spurlock Museum (the University's cultural history museum) which was entitled, "Winter: a Time of Storytelling; Native American Women throughout history" or something like that. One of the speakers was a very dynamic lady from California, who had written a book on Pocahontas, based on her cultural understanding and historical perspective. Her story was very interesting, but the most important thing that she said completely changed my frame of view of the "conquest" of the Americas by Europeans.
She said that some of the Native peoples who were here at the time of the immigration of Europeans knew what was going to happen - the mass persecution and annihilation of thousands of people - and that these who understood it, saw it as a sacrifice. A sacrifice so that these poor masses from Europe, who suffered from spiritual maladies as well as social and political ones, would finally be able to be cleansed. The sacrifice of the entire New World was given for the benefit of the human race.
This blew me away. I had never before thought of this. I recall my past view of the matter having some concept of what the Native peopels "did" to "deserve" this fate. However, as I just recently learned from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha (see my past entry on "Honey"), we don't suffer because we "deserve" to, but because the physical world brings pain. We choose to experience suffering by ignoring our connection to the spiritual world. The sacrifice that these people, for whom I now have a deeper respect, made is immense.