“Betty, this is miracle running. Woowee! Could you have ever imagined my legs feeling this much better? ”
I think of all of the wildlife around Raleigh and how tolerant they are of humans because…what other choice do they have? We hold all the cards such as: bulldozers, guns, poisons, and building permits. I often contemplate their predicament when I see dead animals on the road or notice yet another clear-cut housing development underway. Much like vulnerable populations in human society, wildlife depends on people in positions of power to be humane, benevolent, and kind.
A few days ago, while walking on a path in the woods with my nephew and little dog, we startled a great horned owl making it fly away from its perch near the path. My reaction was to follow the owl. As it flew from tree top to tree top with quiet tolerance of our intrusion, my troupe followed, walking further into the woods away from the path. I was excited and not really thinking calmly. What was my plan? I didn’t have one. I stopped myself, realizing I was in some deep, lush underbrush near a stream with a seven-year-old and a seventeen pound dog. My next thought, oh maybe we’re intruding on a copperhead hide-out? Then I said to the owl, “so glad to see you today, but we’re gonna head back to the path, carry on.” My nephew giggled at me as we walked away. I felt a bit guilty. Why did I badger that owl?
As our little hike progressed, I thought about my winged encounter. Great horned owls are known for their fierceness enabling them to survive and adapt in constantly changing environments. They can still see when the sun isn’t shining, thus representing the sun in the shadows of night. With the gift of seeing light in darkness, they hunt and thrive when we are enveloped in nightfall. They tolerate us; they even tolerate silly humans not thinking while walking off the path, bothering their way of life.
May we be tolerant like our adaptable animal neighbors, constantly shifting towards balance, co-existing with all beings. Master Ou encourages us to hold ourselves to high standards. He expects us to be tolerant –always. I’ve really been working hard at this lately with everything that’s going on in our country and world. In The Path of Life Volume I on page 46, Pangu reminds Master Ou of a Chinese saying, “Calamity comes out of the mouth.” Think of all the barbs and negativity you absorb every day; reflect on all of the unkind words you hear, read, or even say. Consider not adding any more negativity; instead be a beacon of kindness and love. Whew, yes, I can do this; we can do this…a beacon of kindness and love. If I walk off this path, I’ll quickly catch myself walking back to the right way.
When distressed, perhaps fearful, be tolerant like you have no other choice! Quietly, calmly, with great tolerance, like the great horned owl, begin seeing light where others cannot. Then shadows become less formidable. Notice streaks of light piercing through the shadows breeding empathy within. Were there really any shadows in the first place or did you simply stumble upon something unfamiliar? Your acceptance and understanding dispel the shadows. And, from your example, others will begin seeing light in perceived shadows as well because shadows are an illusion since the light was right there all along.
Information on owls gathered from Ted Andrew's teachings, my volunteerism at the American Wildlife Refuge, and looking up at trees for birds for as long as I can remember. :)
Children's Literature - Magical Realism, Nature, Spirituality, Qi Gong #ownvoices.