Zebras return to a resting state often. They let go of the effort and tension required to outrun predators. They stick together. They respond quickly to danger, when necessary. However they don't live day in and day out, in stress.
As we enter into an era that for many of us is turbo charged with stress, we might think about how to learn from our fellow creatures. To take good care. To stick together. To respond quickly when the action is clear.
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The most of us
Robert Sapolsky, well known for his research on stress, wrote a book, "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers." A PBS documentary was produced about his research re: primates and stress. This story comes from the documentary. I relate it from memory. Forgive me for any inaccurate part.
Among groups of primates there are alpha males. They get to run the show, have the pick of who they mate with, get the first dibs when it's time to eat. They can pick fights with other males that are not as strong and make a show to maintain their dominance, using intimidation.
In a particular group of primates that Sapolsky observed, the alpha males had discovered a new consistent food source. A garbage dump. They arrived soon after the garbage was brought to the dump and ate robustly.
On one particular evening, though, the garbage was contaminated. As usual, the alpha males ate until they were satiated. What happened next was so powerful that I remember it always.
All the alpha males died from having eaten food that was contaminated.
Sapolsky reported that with the absence of aggressive alpha males it was unlikely that the remaining members of the group, the females, the young, the more timid males, would survive. How would they defend against other primate groups? Remarkably though they did survive and surprisingly, their remaining group was able to thrive. They took care of each other, preened each other and lived peacefully.
I've heard from two sources that two different tribes of Native peoples that lived on the coast, were peace loving. One peace loving tribe was located around Humboldt Bay. They hosted an annual peace ceremony. All the other warring tribe lived together with them for a week each year.
For that week there were no weapons, there was no warring. They came together in peace. To sit in council with the elders. To share food and gifts. To recognize something that they all shared. To come back into right relationship with Creator, with Life and Each Other. These tribes co-existed for generations.
Many of us live this way. I think given a true choice, the majority of us would want to live this way.
Support to be true to your values
A simple practice:
Find a great or beautiful tree, firmly rooted
to lean on
or a mountain
Make a daily ritual
for several breaths, honor its strength
ask for its mana, its life energy to support you in being true
listen for its wisdom
let it connect you with the Earth, witness to all these changing times
knowing what is true in your heart and mind always
This picture and saying of Mother Theresa, above, helps me to support a change toward greater peace. My part is usually in small ways but every small act matters.