"Before living in the rainforest, I equated ahimsa—nonviolence—with being a vegetarian and opposing warfare of any kind. However, this view was too simplistic. So many of our daily actions—using electricity, nonrenewable goods, and so forth—are hurting the Earth at a disturbing rate. For that brief summer in the rainforest, living without any of these conveniences, I realized how simple life could be. I began to coexist with creatures that many find repulsive—snakes, spiders, mosquitos and ticks. They became a daily part of life in our open forest hut. We once found a possum in our shower, and it was obvious that he wanted to be in the shower no more than we wanted him there. We released him back into the wild. On another occasion I found a tick, and upon releasing it, a tourist questioned me as to why I didn’t kill it. I explained the concept of ahimsa—that the tick was only behaving according to its nature, and that I could respond with compassion or with cruelty.
Although I now live with modern conveniences, I have not forgotten the deep and beautiful lessons of the forest, especially that of nonviolence."