The King of Zen
One of the most profound teachings I ever received from an animal came from a Komodo dragon at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.
I gave myself the assignment to visit the zoo with the intention to overcome my need to save animals. Overcoming my need to save humans, I realized I just transferred that desire to the animal kingdom. Animals detest being seen as victims.
If I was going to be any type of mediator or bridge to help improve the perception of animals in the world and their relationships with humans, I would need to get over myself.
This was gonna hurt.
It was Springtime on a Wednesday morning, right after the zoo opened for the day. I bought some tea at one of the beverage carts. Sussing out where to start, tuned into my intuition to feel where to go.
I checked in with my inner guidance before arriving to see if any animals would be willing or interested in speaking to me. Since humans are responsible for their captivity, I wasn’t sure how welcome I would be for conversation.
Even though I had lived in Seattle years ago, I never went to the zoo. Since I wasn’t familiar with the layout, I decided to let my intuition guide me.
First, I wandered around to where the warty pigs from Indonesia were.
I started a conversation with them even though they were asleep.
The pig that spoke to me was very gregarious and chatty.
He rattled on about how one needed humor to live in a zoo and to not take things so seriously. Keep a lighthearted attitude, laugh and make the most of it.
Meandering through the exhibit, I came upon a pair of arrogant siamangs. They are shiny black haired primates with long arms made for swinging through the jungle.
I asked if they would speak to me but they were aloof and very disinterested. I asked if I may take their photo and they VERY bluntly replied, “ONE- JUST ONE.”
I can imagine how much attention and insensitive comments they must hear/feel from humans that have no idea that they can understand everything they say.
Shortly after that, I passed the giraffes ( WHICH I ADORE), and they were kept in the tiniest pen ever. I sent them love and appreciation, like all the animals there, but there was one giraffe I caught later staring at me intensely.
I opened a conversation thinking perhaps this giraffe wished to communicate with me about something. Instead, “he” continued to drill holes in my head with his stare and kept repeating “ don’t tell me what to do”.
His anger or yet rage at being in a zoo was anything but surprising.
Feeling this giraffe’s anger reminded me of why I felt anxious to visit the zoo in the first place. He confirmed how challenging I suspected this assignment would be.
Tension grew in my body, I shrunk with feelings of guilt and despair. The feeling of animals as victims increased, yet I continued onward to visit more animals who may wish to connect with me.
Surprisingly, I passed a bubbly female boa constrictor who was eager to talk later and told me to circle back around before I left.
I saw a sleeping tiger with its back to glass I imagine so it wouldn’t have to tolerate being stared at. Later while visiting the depressed looking penguins, I listened to a boy in a stroller remark to his father that they looked sad. Yep, they did.
The meerkats I passed by seemed oblivious to the world on the other side of the glass.
By the time I reached the Komodo dragons, I felt saturated with despair. Sitting down in front of this enormously beautiful reptile wondering if was aware of my presence or not.
The Komodo slowly opened one eye and peered at me.
Timidly, I asked how can it exist in a zoo and not perish?
Using my own language and concepts to explain,“he” described how he retreated into his “inner space” to feel free and nourished on the inside.
Living primarily from this space made it possible for him to transcend the prison of his a glass box. His soul was free while his body was not.
He could see how distressed I was and said this is what’s necessary for me to be able to pursue this connection with animals and not see them as victims.
I instantly erupted into tears. All the tension I was suppressing not only from that morning but by living in a world that not only disrespects animals but all forms of nature came gushing out like a burst water pipe.
My heart softened and my cells swelled with relief. He was echoing the same teachings originating from the seer and mystic I study with. Almine.
Almine teaches the importance of retreating into our “inner space” to restore that which is challenged and depleted by the outside world.
Creating sacred inner spaces to visit is similar to a guided visualization as it helps reduce the impact of the outside world.
Replenishing ourselves with visits to an inner garden, moonlit beach, grassy meadow or forest can help you regenerate from the exposure and overwhelm we experience everyday.
Anything you wish to create in your outer reality, you may create here internally first.
Now I understand why animals sleep so much. They aren’t just sleeping.
They are dreaming, coping, healing and creating their reality.
Just like us.