Another meditation journey/walk with Elephant
From 12/14/18. Seems even more poignant today.
I asked: What is the good that I need to see? What can I do to enhance it?
Elephant walked along with me setting her comforting rhythm. It took a few minutes (I’m so easily distractible) but eventually a cat came into my mind, more a shadow slinking through the trees, and then a silhouette standing on a mountain in the snow. I realized that she was a Snow Leopard.
“Adversity cultivates” she said.
In the extreme cold, her coat grew thick and heavy – white with muted spots to camouflage her in the snow-covered trees. Her thick lashes kept the falling snow from getting in her eyes. Her stealth and dexterity allowed her to safely navigate relentless snow and unforgiving terrain.
Snow Leopard asked me to recognize that the difficulties we’re facing will force us to grow, as individuals, as a culture. Even as we continually try to reduce adversity and create comfort, we are confronted with new discomfort. We want things to be smooth and easy, but we meet people who disagree. It’s uncomfortable to have conversations about it, so we don’t. Avoiding that discomfort, we lose the ability to communicate. And we are forced to confront the discomfort of disconnection and isolation. Our thoughts in isolation and fear allow for misunderstanding, even hatred… and a new discomfort takes hold. More adversity. Ultimately, we will have to grow or die.
We encounter similar struggles with health. We can cultivate health, by nourishing and strengthening our bodies and learning to navigate the challenges posed by our environment, or we can try to avoid the discomfort posed by those challenges by taking things that alleviate symptoms. But challenge and struggle await us either way. Either route can bring growth. Both come with risks. The choices can be painful to watch, but they are both ways to evolve.
Snow Leopard reminds us that adversity brings creativity. Challenges make us think in new ways. But, She warns, our big emotions become the lenses that govern what we see while we create. Feelings of scarcity create a lens of greed, which will encourage us to create ways to accumulate. Feelings of fear will make us creative about ways to avoid things that seem threatening. Feelings of excitement will lead us into adventure. Feelings of love will help us enhance and attract things we love.
Right now, there is a lot of fear and scarcity. We are using a lot of our energy running from challenges and hoarding abundance, which only makes fear and greed grow. So when we are tired, we often choose to drink coffee rather than heed a signal that our bodies need rest because we fear losing our jobs or missing out on an opportunity. The coffee we drink to get us through deplete our kidneys and adrenals over time. Our fear of scarcity makes us stay in jobs we hate that rob us of health, inspiration and happiness so that we can have enough money to buy us a false sense of security. We push ourselves hard, deplete our resources and use our creativity to get ahead of others so we can succeed instead of working together to find happiness.
So what can I do?
Soften the lens. Help people feel safe/secure enough to be their best selves and they will use their gifts to better the world. It’s not all on you. Everyone has something to offer. If they can come out from under fear and insecurity, people can redirect their efforts to create something that can benefit everyone. It will take time… our cultural priorities are organized around fear. We may have to experience many failures and a lot of suffering. We may have to be forced to see the shortcomings our comforts before we change the way we live. But a loving lens will make the lessons come more easily and reduce resistance.
This is part of evolution. This is how we grow.
Very thought provoking! So, you're a philosopher too. Love you, Dad