I don’t really connect with animals. Although cordial, our relationship is more that of acquaintances than friends. Whatever bond others seemingly feel, I don’t. I suppose that’s why the strange creature’s message struck me so deeply that day. I still remember it verbatim. Ironically, I have housed and cared for many an animal throughout my life. From dogs to rabbits to every rodent and vermin in between. I do not seek them out, but rather they are thrust upon me. And yet through the many shared lives, I have never felt any real affinity. That’s not to say that I didn’t care for or feel compassion for these animals, it just was never on a deep fundamental level.
While still not a real animal lover I have at least come to an accord with the animal kingdom. This mutual understanding and amity came about quite serendipitously while visiting a mysterious, enigmatic land. An abstruse and arcane realm known simply as Me.
Perhaps it was preordained and destined from the beginning. It does seem somewhat counterintuitive, after all. Why else would a person who wishes no animals come to possess and reside with so many? None of this was on my mind the day the creature spoke his prophetic words.
I have previously alluded to the enigmatic power of what I have coined Free Style Meditation. You can read more about it here to get a better sense of what exactly it involves. In essence, it begins when a partner guiding you slowly into a very relaxed theta state of mind. Once there, you are set free to carry forth in whatever direction your mind so chooses.
It was here that I found myself walking through a dense antediluvian rainforest teeming with lush green ferns with large palms draping this way and that. I stepped tentatively along a narrow winding pathway, darkened as it was by a rich forest canopy above. I could hear and sense various animals in and around my midst.
Birds chirped noisily from the treetops while insects of all kinds scurried about underfoot. The sun’s rays danced in and around me to the sounds of tree branches creaking and swaying above.
I felt nothing untoward when suddenly up ahead of me a tall, thin creature waved its tentacle type appendage at me. It was clearly attempting to draw my attention to it. Being that it was my world and I the creator therein, I did not feel fear but instead a certain intrigue. I turned toward the tall, emaciated being approaching with guarded curiosity.
That’s just one of the anomalies of freestyling, you sense that you are creating it all, or at the very least it is unfolding from somewhere within you, but your physical mind is quick to point out that nothing is real here. It’s all just a dream you are dreaming. Dismay and bewilderment fill your mind much later when you are able to confirm specific details such as places, events, and surnames.
As I moved nearer, the creature’s insectoid like features came closer into view. Standing erect on wizened stick like legs the being rose close to seven feet in height. It appeared that it might be of the Animalia order otherwise known as Mantodea or Mantises. What immediately struck me as odd, was that its limbs and joints bent reversely to what one would typically expect. I did not feel threatened in its presence. It was abundantly clear that the creature itself was of high intellect. It introduced itself telepathically, requesting thereafter that I follow. I knew instinctively that the being had taken on the role of mentor and guide in this peculiar world and thus had a lesson to teach me.
The being led me off in a direction right-angled to the path I had been traversing to that point. After a short distance, we came into a clearing. The deep foilage had given way to large misshapen rocks and boulders stacked haphazardly one upon the other like fallen dominos. Across from where I stood I could make out a dark opening in the rock wall. Upon entering, I soon found myself looking about the jagged walls of a crystalline cave. The mineral content of the rocks appeared to be iron-rich as the surrounding walls were brandished with a crisscrossing rusty reddish hue. As we walked on further still, quartz crystal stalactites and stalagmites projected from above and below. These clear crystal structures slowly dominated our surroundings as we walked deeper again into the cave. At this point, the blood-red minerals earlier coursing through the veins of the cave rock were all but gone. I was taken aback, in awe of the bright, brilliant diamond-like crystals that filled my sight in every direction.
The being glanced back at me, it’s head listing to one side. It conveyed to me that the cave represented a metaphor. The blood-red hue was emblematic of my physical body while the clear crystal, the state of my pure consciousness. What I was soon to see and engage with was a mental exercise in self-awareness. We had moved from the outside to the inside, arriving, as it were, within the confines of my own mind, my psyche, my ego.
Having made his point, we continued along the path, making our way back out into open space. The terrain still rough, we began to ascend a rocky outcrop. Reaching the pinnacle, I surveyed the surrounding scene.
From our vantage point, I could see all 360 degrees of the surrounding horizon. There was an ebb and flow to the land, with one type of topography meshing into the next. My attention was drawn to a deep valley, hewn and cut by an intersecting river. The valley rose up from the river on either side, the landscape painted with lush greens from the abundantly rich flora and fauna.
The valleys peaceful serenity was juxtaposed on either side by jagged mountains rising steeply above the valley floor. In contrast to the softly sloping valley, the hills opposite side featured treacherous cliffs that appeared to be insurmountable.
The sky itself, while bright, blue and sunny over the valley gradually morphed into darkly ominous storm clouds belching lightening and thunder, their rains teeming down over the cliff face. Continuing to survey the surrounding skyline I took note of the fact that every type of landscape was represented. From deserts to oceans and plains to jungles. They all constituted a part of me and who I was.
We spent some time studying and dissecting the nuances and lessons I was to learn from each landform. Once understood, the scene slowly faded from and I found myself floating in midair next to a sandy bluff.
The being no longer accompanying me, I slowly drifted upward. Rocks, branches and old roots projected outward from its heavily eroded sides until I finally reached the pinnacle. The motion ceased, I floated stationary, on a level plane with surrounding land.
There before me, standing on the edge of the bluffs cliff face, were a dozen or so diverse species of animal. They were all easily recognizable to me. Rabbits and foxes, raccoons and birds, each standing motionless and staring out at me from the bluff’s edge. Our eyes locked for a moment as I attempted to make some sense of the scene.
Suddenly, a large animal unbeknownst to me stepped forward. It was clearly predominate over all the others and gave off the air of being the alpha of this bizarre menagerie. Its hooves took up residence on the very edge of the bluff. Deer like in its stature and appearance it’s short hair was a flowing mix of snow white and powdery sky blue.
As it steadied itself, I could feel its eyes peering directly through me. All the while, I kept thinking to myself, “what the hell is that?” Seemingly sensing my inquiry it firmly and stately delivered the message I was there to hear.
“Do not try to discern what I am for you do not know me. But know this, that I exist and dwell within you.”
The message was so poignant, final and profound that my eyes shot open immediately upon its reception. I understood precisely what I was told, my physical world now back in full view. That even though I may not feel connected to animals physically, I was indeed very attached to them spiritually.
This revelation, while profound, hasn’t really changed my outlook on owning another animal. It most likely was never intended to. It was simply another rung to climb on the ladder of self-revelation. Then again, perhaps they may still hold a place in my future. Why, just last night, my wife threw this foreshadowing curve ball at me.
“Small dogs are nice, but they are too yappy. I still like bigger dogs.”