Teacher and Student

Teacher and Student

Teacher & Student

He’s clear about his parameters. I feel my smallness when he soars. He eyes my thumbs, then shows me the dexterity and strength of his talons and beak. We laugh at reality.

He suggests a zoom lens. He’s right. Boundaries work.

What else works when we endeavor to learn from wildlife and companion animals? Mindfulness is the skill that crosses all species’ boundaries. Respect and mindfulness are the most effective skills we can apply here. Dad Raven is clear about his parameters. He shows me through his behavior when he wants to relate and what distance.

He always opts to connect when I’m fully present to our shared moments. When I lay down my human mantle, with all its control buttons, and attend to the feel of the air moving across my face, the variations in fragrance and temperature as it wafts by, the sounds filling our shared moment, he let’s go of its apprehension. I let go of mine. For those moments, we’re just two beings enjoying or contending with Life.

Most critters live in that state of mind. We probably used to too. Human literature and our spiritual traditions across time and geography are replete with references to the importance of this state of consciousness. It’s been associated with the development of virtue and wisdom cross culturally for millennia.

When I sit before the ravens, or any other critter, and shift my internal dialogue from thoughts to the here and now of Life, we connect. They appear to be as curious about me as I am of them. They show me their boundaries. I show them mine. We agree on our safe distance. Before long, we begin to sense-feel one another. It’s the most welcoming feeling I know of. I’ve yet to meet a critter who hasn’t been receptive to this.

Doing this for even a few minutes a day changes us humans. It makes us more resilient to stress, among other benefits. These days, what could be more valuable than increasing our ability to metabolize stress instead of being at its effect? The opportunities to do this are endless.

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