What I see outside of myself depends on the filters I use to interpret the information flowing in. If I put images through the same conditioned framework, I am bound to see the same old things. In fact those thought patterns keep me from seeing what is right in front of my eyes.
A hare taught me this the other day. I was sitting reading a book and glancing up occasionally to look across the yard to an open area in front of the manzanita bushes. At first he just sat there motionless. I watched this statue-like form for about five minutes and wondered if he was all right. The next time I looked up, he was munching the grass near the base of the nearby bird bath. A half hour later, there he was again, just sitting, appearing to stare into the yard. Over about an hour and a half he was somewhere in that scene, sitting motionless or eating, any time I looked his way.
I had not seen a hare do this before. I usually see one haring off out toward the open field. They have kept their distance and if they pause to nibble the bushes, they are soon on their way. This behavior was different and therefore my mind began to see a problem. “Is this hare ill or injured? Does it realize that there is a coyote in the neighborhood and that lingering in one spot might be dangerous? Do I need to put extra food out for it?” All my thoughts circled the feeling that there was a problem with the hare and I needed figure out what to do for it.
That night, I asked Hare (the archetype of my visitor) if there was a message for me. In a dream Hare responded, “I was not concerned looking into the cabin and seeing you reading your book and drinking tea, even though you usually do not sit in one spot for so long. Why should you think that there is a problem with me when I sit, eat and enjoy the first warm afternoon?”
The next morning, the memory of the dream made me laugh. The gift of the hare was to show me what my mind does when I look out at other people, places and situations with the wrong eyes. Over the previous week I had been focusing not on my friends and family, but on the challenges they are currently facing and the frustrations they are experiencing. Instead of seeing the capacity, strength, inner light, and creativity of each person, I was scanning for “problems” to be help them solve. This is one of those well-worn thought paths that I can slip into without noticing.
No one needs my suggestions about what they should do or how to move forward in their lives. When I launch in with my ideas, I often interfere with their ability to listen to their own deepest wisdom and find guidance within.
When I share a challenge or puzzle, I do not want someone else to grab it away and try to solve it. I want the chance to listen to how I describe it and see what pops up. While possibilities sometime emerge as a friend adds their comments, it is still up to me to sort through what is offered and to see where it fits for me. Most often their gift is the compassion of listening to my words with open acceptance, and reflecting a confidence in my ability to find my way along my path.
I have not seen the hare in recent days, but I sense he is still afoot enjoying the longer warmer days. His presence is a gift. This animal let me bounce my thoughts and projections off of his lovely, peaceful form so I could see them more clearly. I’m deeply grateful for hare and all the four-legged teachers who visit me bringing curiosity, playfulness and peace.
Peace along your path,