Friday, November 17, 2006

Beautiful Bears

Beautiful Bears

I was riffling through a Wildlife Preservation Magazine. This particular issue had award-winning photographs of various creatures in their natural habitat. They were all spectacular, but there was one that was irresistible to me. I was totally captivated by the picture of
a polar bear and her pup in a snowy mountain landscape framed with feathery evergreen boughs. I found myself returning so often to gaze at it, that I decided to order a print. I called the magazine and they gave me the email address of the photographer and within a few days, I had my print. I was thrilled.

With a very long lens, Thomas Cooper has captured a mother polar bear sound asleep with her tiny pup, who looks like a small ball of super white fur. Its black eyes are wide open, and it's nestled between the mother's huge head and an enormous front paw. There seem to be no ears on the pup, and the nose and mouth are hidden in the mighty embrace. There's just this tiny white fur ball with big black eyes gazing out at the magnificent world with such an innocence and wonder. Completely adorable.

As the days go by, I continue to be grateful that I ordered this picture and keep asking myself why I did. I see terrific photographs in magazines all the time but I've never before felt compelled to call the magazine and email the photographer in quest of a print. What is it
here that touches me so?

The mother is obviously completely at home in her natural environment (-25̊ F). She's at peace. She's connected. And the pup seems blissfully happy in its safe, cozy haven. The picture seems to be whispering, "God's in his heaven and all's right with the world." And maybe that's it. Maybe my body/mind/spirit are so yearning to remember this all the
time -- to feel safe and cozy and at peace and connected in the midst of the churning upset energy that permeates our living space on planet earth at this time. And this picture came to live with me as a constant reminder, in a most endearing way, that despite the most challenging atmosphere, the "peace and safe and cozy and connected" are always here -- now, the instant I acknowledge my inner life.

And I find myself revisiting my favorite theme: going within -- coming home to the heart -- connecting with the kingdom of Heaven ever present there -- stopping the relentless mind chatter -- relaxing, embracing, delighting in the feelings of silence deep within the energy
of my body. There is the true vitality -- there is the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Do it right now as you read these words. Be conscious of the energy inside your body. Be conscious that you're reading. Be conscious that you're breathing.

Stop reading for a few moments and just be here now, totally in the present. Feel the stillness.

The authenticity and serenity of the bears, so at peace on their snowy mountain in Manitoba, Canada (may this scenario remain so), bless and inspire me every time I look at them. They invite me to hear the silence, to feel the exhilarating crisp, clear air -- to sense their
ease. They remind me of the lyrics of the Bernstein/Sondheim song Somewhere: "Peace and quiet and open air wait for us, somewhere." They remind me that that place is deep within me and they make me grateful that that Kingdom of Heaven is still reflected in certain parts of our world. They remind me of the sacredness of these pristine wildernesses and their many life forms. They remind me that we are to be the stewards of this earth and her creatures, and not despoil them with our shortsightedness and greed.

How can we even begin to imagine that we can rape and poison the very earth that feeds us, gives us air to breathe and water to drink, and continue to live? The bears remind me to pray without ceasing that our collective consciousness will wake up in time to save Mother Earth and all the life manifesting upon her. May we embrace and honor our role as nurturer to the Nurturer. Thank you, glorious bears. Thank you, Thomas. Thank you, Beloved Earth.

To contact Thomas Cooper:

Whenever in doubt, Come Home to your Heart
Elizabeth Hepburn