Friday, February 08, 2008

As of Now: An Animal Enlightenment (2 of 2)

Continued from Part 1
From my personal diaries, January 29, 2008

Animal Consciousness

It was in the Kruger National Park, away from any person I had known all my life, alone in most senses of the word, that I put to practice what I had been learning earlier in Africa. I decided to see without looking. The whole obsession of spotting the Big Five – elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, and buffalo – was frustrating. Early the second day, stretching our necks and darting our eyes over the landscape in the hope of spotting an important animal, I remembered that as a child, I would have been ecstatic simply to have been in a jungle! There I was, in Africa, in the wild, with animals nearby most likely hiding in the tall summer grass, feeling thoroughly ungrateful and tired having spotted yet another impala.

Then I took stock of my situation, and undertook a few actions. I thanked my life for preserving itself; I thanked my Lord for giving me life at all. I thanked all favorable chances for bringing me to the jungle, amidst the trees, surrounded by the possibility that wild animals will cross my path. I allowed myself to feel the hidden-ness of the animals, the scent of their proximity. I bowed lightly to the trees, acknowledging their graceful presence. They shivered in response.

I asked my consciousness to travel in all directions, instantaneously, to let the animals know that there was someone amidst them who loves them. I am not going to stare at them. They are not objects. They are alive, swift, agile, wild! They are in touch with nature! They are animals!

I want to behold the raw energy of their presence, to allow myself to feel those parts of myself that resonate with their energy. I have respect for my animal self, which was me before I became me as I am.

I resign to the fact that no animal was ever sighted because a human was looking and staring in their direction. Rather, the animal was there, and the human chanced to have looked at that place just then; or the human was an agile hunter who had anticipated the animal's behavior and plotted to cross their path. This is how things happen. This is the duality. My set of eyes produces no animals. In half, I depend.

On the other half, the animal depends on me to hold it in awe, for it to be, relatively, an “animal” – wild, raw, powerful and dangerous – indeed.

An unlikely large number and variety of animals – including the Big Five – appeared on our path during the tour. In particular was the leopard who loitered about nearby, and didn't go until we had the fill of our sighting. Rather, we got a little fatigued by the wearing off of novelty, I admit. I joked to the guide that I had prayed for these extraordinary sightings. But the truth was that I had submitted to the wilderness; with the general satisfaction that my life was no longer out to get me.

So far, it was I who had been getting my life, holding it by its poor throat and chortling it to produce my self-created end or else die!

I gave that all up.

Then, The Submission

I gave all that nonsense up – as wholly and unconditionally as I could.

By the time of the miraculous leopard sighting, I had come to believe that life is at once smaller and larger than I. And it is benevolent to the extent that I am benevolent to myself. There is no other Secret other than “I am.” In those moments, whatever remained in me of false hopes and expectations – I gave up.

I took my memory out of me, and blew it back in the direction of The Universe.

Note: All photos were taken by the blogger "The Prophecy" in the Kruger National Park. Not to be re-published without permission. For the interested, there are more animal close-up shots and videos - especially of the Leopard. Please email inquiries. (Email address on the blog A Quest for Beauty; a Lust for Life!)


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