Six Realms: The Animal Realm
Before we move onto to this next realm I want to pause for a moment. This blog and this exploration is not something I expected or let alone desire others to read dogmatically. This is just a playful and sometimes painful introspective discussion and thinking out loud.
This following realm, the animal realm hardly limits itself to Buddhist teachings. The same ideas and illustrations that describe this realm are talked about in great details in Taoist teaching. Which I'm presently enjoy the charming book called "The Tao of Pooh" by Benjamin Hoff. It's easily the most precious and peaceful experience I've discovered in the arena of philosophical stories.
Back to the Animal Realm. The animal realm is the pattern driven person. They're out of breath in their first sentence because they've already queued up there next nine talking points. The animal realm is the realm of racing for survival in an "eat or be eaten" mentality.
You've encountered people like this, if not yourself been there innumerable times. The animal realm is similar to say a gazelle that's in a consistent search for food and a constant alert for predators. People in this realm are often unreachable. They can't take a break because there's too many fires at work and if they can't finish everything it means the end of their career! They're in a hurry to nowhere.
Its easy to get caught up in this mess, especially as you allow fear to grip you. When fear is your motivation you're incapable of inviting in a bit of rest and relaxation. The animal realm also turns you into a thoughtless robot. Your life becomes automated.
Here's an experiment to see if someone is in the animal realm. Ask them a motivational question, say why are you doing your task this way in a nonjudgmental tone? See if they have a clue. Ask them about their day or their weekend and see if they can give you anything other than a stock reply. If they only give the stock answer you're currently looking a a robot. They've disconnected for reasons, none of them truthful.
The animal realm is the realm that makes you stupid! You're to busy to see the world or things around you. The problem is we can all get captured by this thinking. Being busy is not a sign of quality in our lives. Being anxious about our next task then the next is mindless and inhuman. Running and running around and completing to-do lists won't awaken you to the presence of being. Further I challenge you to think of a quality decision you've made under extreme anxiety and fear? That's guaranteed to be a poorly made decision or solution.
How to we break away from this realm? It's quite simple. Slow down and pay attention. Not everything is a fire and exceptionally few things are actually life and death. Looking busy so management or professionals or social media excuses you to just be you is ridiculous.
I'll leave this subject with a picture. Imagine you're a flowering plant 🌱. At first you begin life as a seed in the ground which eventually breaks free from the soil. Reaching upwards and outwards you're fed by the rich nutrients in the earth and the warmth and light of the sun. Your existence is both out of your control and half unseen. Beneath the soil is your roots. Your history, life events, friendships, heart aches, childhood and adult experiences that brought you to this moment. Yet none of that can be seen. All that can be seen is your leaves and flowers, your external accomplishments, projects, possessions, etc... You're here today because of yesterday's roots. Inner growth is always needed for outer growth. Life is bigger, better and far more wonderful that not taking the time to stop and smell the roses.
There's truly no need to be in such a hurry, we'll all get to our own end in time. Lastly to give my favorite quote from the "Steve Jobs" biography "the journey is the reward".