Think of nature, and you’ll probably think of all the wonderful animals that populate it. These creatures are often our most direct connection to nature, and their presence can fill us with wonder and awe at their beauty and power. What most people don’t realize, however, is that animals can also be our teachers in how to live more skillfully in the world through lessons they can teach us about ourselves, our connections to nature, and even spirituality. Learning from animals can lead to not only a better understanding of nature but also help you develop your life into something that’s truly fulfilling and meaningful.
3 Things I Learned from Spending 5 Months in Uganda
I learned that helping people feel better, feeding hunger, and enjoying time spent with people of different cultures can all be achieved at once. No matter what your end goal is, it’s important to reach out and spend time with people of different cultures. This alone will give you new perspectives on life and will likely help you achieve any goals or dreams you may have had in mind. All I ever wanted was a project with a few clear-cut boundaries, but when I let go of that my true path was revealed and all I needed to do was put one foot in front of another.
How learning about Yogis Taught Me to Survive
Yogis have been fasting in extreme conditions for centuries. Reading about a 4-day fast in an ice cave on Mt. Everest, I learned something surprising: You don’t always need food to survive—you need willpower. And to further this, the lesson I learned was that spirituality has nothing to do with religion or faith—it has everything to do with your will when you want to make it through any situation alive.
Elephants Taught Me How to Mourn
Elephants in Africa use other elephants’ bones to build platforms upon which they mourn their dead. Elephants often visit these death sites, again and again, to touch, caress, and place food on top of or near them as a way to continue honoring their departed loved ones. Why do they do it? According to Dr. Cynthia Moss, an expert in elephant behavior: Elephants are intensely social animals who grieve deeply. In our learning from this is to also teach children to learn about life and death from their elders by watching how they behave at death sites. As we grieve our own losses over time, we can learn what is meaningful in our lives by revisiting those precious moments with family and friends.
Dogs Taught Me the Importance of Priorities
My dog Achilles had an illness called Fanconi Syndrome. I had to give him medication twice a day. It made him drool uncontrollably. So, I would go to his food bowl in advance and make sure that I placed a small towel under it so it would catch his drool. One day I had an important meeting and I figured that if I came home early enough to give Achilles his medication, I would still be able to attend my meeting, and everything would be fine. When I got home from the meeting later that day (with 5 minutes to spare), however, my room was destroyed by water dripping from Achilles and the towel was nowhere to be found. Maybe I should have stayed home?
Computers Taught Me Why We Need Empathy Machines. Will They Work?
For years I used my laptop as a makeshift empathy machine. A few minutes a day on social media was enough to make me feel connected to family and friends in a world becoming more digitized every day. I had plenty of reasons for feeling less than whole – growing up without my father most of the time meant that I struggled with self-confidence as an adult. The computer helped fill in some blanks. But then one night recently, it occurred to me that if I really wanted to connect with others, maybe I needed to put down my laptop and focus on something else entirely. Technology won’t fix our problems; only people can do that, myself included – both online and off.
Kangaroos Taught Me How to Love Fearlessly
Kangaroos are rarely considered spiritual animals. After all, they’re just common marsupials who eat grass and hop around in Australia. While that may be true, it doesn’t mean they don’t have something to teach us about nature. I had seen so many on television shows and documentaries that I thought I knew what to expect from them. But when we spotted on television a mother kangaroo one day with her baby joey hopping after her, my perspective totally changed. I’ve always felt that kangaroos were much wiser than other animals as a child, but I wasn’t really sure why. Their bodies look strange and awkward, especially when they jump around as they do. But that jumping isn’t really so bad when you think about it; kangaroos have been in Australia for at least 20 million years now—that’s long before humans even existed. If we humans think we can do better than something that has lasted for over twenty million years, then I think we need to reevaluate our position in relation to nature. We are not the pinnacle of life on earth; there is much out there besides us.
Dolphins Taught Me How to Create an Amazing World
Dolphins are incredibly social animals who like to play all the time. They live with each other in family groups called pods, which can have anywhere from two to fifty members. The pods are led by a matriarch who is often the oldest female in the group and decides where the pod will travel next. Dolphins communicate with each other primarily through high-frequency clicks and whistles which are thought to have evolved from their need to find prey underwater. In order for humans to understand them, we had to develop our own version of the dolphin language called American Sign Language (ASL).
Pandas Showed Me the Hidden Spiritual Power in Everyone’s Everyday Lives
No, pandas aren’t sages or prophets. But there is something to be learned from how they teach their young a valuable lesson about working with others in nature. That’s only one example of why humans can benefit by learning more about animals. Here are five more ways that animals—particularly those that live in groups—can serve as your spirit guides. 1) Social Animals Show You How to Play Nicely Together: Monkeys in the wild have made it clear that you should take turns and share nicely if you want to get along. 2) Bees Do It All for the Hive: The cooperation among honeybees, who work together for the sake of their hive-mates, offers us a glimpse into what life could look like when we create solutions for everyone’s benefit. 3) Wolves in Packs Want You to Have Your Personal Space: Wolves know the importance of having personal space, which often clashes with human culture. 4) Ants Live Like Tiny Collectivist Anarchists: While not all social animals can provide this insight, there are certain lessons that ants and other insect societies hold for humanity’s future. 5) Apes Offer Lessons on Life and Death: The way apes react to death gives us a unique perspective on how we might deal with our own mortality.
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