Animals don’t seem to stress about, well….anything. Why not?
“Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities, old mother nature’s recipes
That bring the bare necessities of life”
–Song by Bruce Reitherman and Phil Harris from the animated film: “The Jungle Book” (1967)
While Baloo the bear may have been presenting it with humor, he was still delivering an important spiritual message to the human boy Mowgli: one he knew intimately because he was talking (or singing) from lived experience. He knew what all animals know: to live in the present. Or, even more accurately perhaps: that there is only the present.
The Difference Between Humans and Animals
We humans have the curse–and, yes, blessing–of knowing our own mortality. We have a concept of past, present, and future, which means that we live in any one of these at any given moment in time. Sometimes we’re living in the past or the future when the truth is: there is only now. Only sometimes, and often fleetingly, do we live there…rather, here.
Why is all this time-travel so dangerous? Not because of what any science fiction movie tells you about breaking the timeline, but because regret lives in the past and anxiety in the future. Many of the negative emotions that burden us and keep us from ascension live in the past or the future–not the present. The fear of the end of the world, for example, lives in the future.
Bears live in the now. Birds, squirrels, fish–they all live in the now. They’re not thinking about the end of all existence. They’re thinking about their next meal or copulation. Only we are living with the preoccupation with no longer living.
Is it that animals have an innate intuition of their eternal nature? Perhaps. Or, perhaps they are already living in the eternal now with no concept of any other frequency. Is there a difference?
Does that mean they think they’re immortal? Doubtfully so. They see death too—every day. And some of them even seem to grieve. Yet animals likely see death differently from us. They seem to accept it as a natural course of life. They are not so bound by ego identity: that life will end before their time. Rather, they seem innately aware of their interconnectedness with all of life. That, though their time ends-or at least time ends for others of their kind before their eyes—life itself continues.
Worry is not an option. Only forging on.
Like a Mobius strip (or an Escher painting) there is no beginning or end for us. We simply return to the All-one from which we came. Animals already live there. We can learn a lot from adopting that perspective with intention: from shedding concerns over “what ifs” and “whens” and instead live. Be. Here. Now. Live in this eternal moment, not spending every moment dying: living in death.
Take a lesson from Mother Nature and all her children. This is our bare necessity: to live as if there is no yesterday or tomorrow. Only today.
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