You won't believe what happened to me on Friday afternoon "at school": I'm hanging out on a soft bed of aromatic Bay leaves in the shade of a family of Bay Laurel trees at Foothill park (Palo Alto hills)...alone in the woods (well off the beaten path, of course :)...doing a bit of post-picnic meditation (which was starting to approach "nap")...when a really bizarre sound snaps me back: the other-worldly "squealing yelps" of a deer being attacking by coyotes.... The two coyotes killed the deer and ate it, while I watched in awe....
There was a moment when I could've intervened
and saved the deer. I decided not to. In the quiet,
meditative space that I was in, I had "a strong intuition" that this
was "mother nature's gig," and that "it was not my place" to
intervene: Cognizant of how nature balances itself in such
perfect harmony, I somehow instinctively
knew that a wisdom far greater than mine was at work.
I'm not saying, however, that it was *easy* to sit there, do nothing, and try to remain present during what my human consciousness judged to be an intense & gruesome experience, nor that I didn't empathize with that deer as it was literally being ripped apart (nor that I didn't *also* empathize with those coyotes and their need to eat, for that matter!). But, difficult as it was, remaining the passive observer (remaining the respectful witness of an intelligence beyond, perhaps, my ability to even comprehend...remaining the humble student of an intelligence that has always been at work on this planet, and is always at work, even in this moment as I relate this to you) truly felt like the right thing to do.
Sitting there, trying to verify for myself that I did indeed make the correct decision, I thought of how most (all?) of the ecological problems on this planet have come when we humans, in our arrogance, start thinking we know better...applying our short-sighted, $$/power/fear/ego-driven, human-biased judgement...playing God...and thus choosing which species, trees, rivers, ecosystems, etc. get to live or die. I thought, "Who am I to place this deer above these coyotes and their need to kill to survive?" (**)
Either way, I'm sure glad I decided to "hang" instead
of "hike" that day! (I surely would've never seen this had I been
moving.) Witnessing life and death in all its shockingly raw, unedited
splendor, really "wakes one up." Incredible gift. Lots of teachings.
Perhaps what we humans are struggling to learn is
that life/existence is meant to be as much about acceptance and
surrender, as it is about judgment and control....
Perhaps everything is always unfolding
perfectly...under the unseen guidance of an intelligence greater than even my
(normal) ability to comprehend...even (and especially) when it looks and feels to me
(from my small and limited human perspective) that it's not. In fact, this
perfection would include my feeling whatever I'm feeling, too. Ie, if I'm
feeling that "this is wrong, this hurts, this is bad"...or that "what I'm reading
right now is absolute bullshit"...or whatEver I might be ostensibly "knowing"
mentally/emotionally...then, for my/the highest good, perhaps I am *meant* to be
experiencing just that. So, if everything before me were exactly
perfect...and everything inside me--including any pain or internal argument with
what (I perceive) is transpiring--were exactly as it's meant to be, all
orchestrated via a good and loving intelligence infinitely beyond my own,
Take a class in life: Get out in the woods! :-)
(**) I realize how often I forget all the killing that goes on so that I can eat and survive, since everything's so nicely killed for me and put in pretty packaging for me in the supermarket. Watching those coyotes eat that deer, I realize that I am no different than they...except that I don't have to personally participate in, and witness first-hand, the killing of all the beautiful creatures that allow me to continue living. Then, I send a silent prayer of gratitude to the thousands of wonderful plants and animals that have given their lives so that mine could continue...and the thousands that will give their lives in the future so that mine can continue. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.