Sharing stories is a wonderful way to guide and teach others, and I believe that the more often we share instances of respect and honor towards wildlife, the more that we can encourage others to do the same in their lives. My art comes from a place of storytelling.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
More and more I am becoming interested in the role of art and the meditative process of art making as a means to connect to something significant, something otherworldly beyond (and within) our daily routines and human nature. I believe that this connection comes through storytelling about our compassion for animals.
This compassionate way of seeing the world is accessible when we make the mental sidestep from loving our pets like family, to understanding that wild animals are simply animals we don’t know.
Animals that are unknown also have sentience and unique personalities and they also have species characteristics, behaviors, family life, and life cycles.
From recognizing this simple concept and allowing your mind to become more open and understanding of wild animals, there is a means to access a larger connection to life.
If you can think from the perspective of wild animals in areas where humans have taken over, you can start to see the tremendous challenges they face because of us. We are guests and the animals are the residents (humans are such asshole guests!).
How would you survive if a destructive species came in and took over your life, leaving you displaced, with no means to communicate with the species that has taken over? Part of the human psyche is to fear the ‘other’ (people, species, nations, concepts, beliefs) and build up walls to protect ourselves from the very thing that we are routinely doing to animals (domestic, farm, and wild - we’re so in it that we can’t even see that we are doing it).
Once we begin to experience compassion and admiration towards wild animals, we can take another mental sidestep and see that wild animals symbolize not just our capacity to have compassion towards other species, but also all those nations, concepts and beliefs that we innately view as ‘other’. From the open curiosity to understand the ‘other’, we can move from an egoic place of trying to always win and be right, to a place of communication and compassion and acceptance.
If you have the capacity to respect a raccoon who uses your yard as a safe place to have a nap, you can see that your capacity for compassion towards the ‘other’ has actually been within you all this time. Your compassion for wild animals can awaken this part of you, and you can access this, our greatest gift in life, towards all of the ‘others’ in your life, including the ones residing within you.