Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Bear In The Cave

During a walking meditation this morning I found myself at the foot of an enormous wall which I could neither pass through nor go around. The wall was brick or perhaps rock, and was covered with vines and other growth, making it seem even more imposing than it was. I examined the wall and could determine no path which would allow me to pass to the other side. Yet I knew that I needed to get beyond the wall to reach my destination.

Shortly I observed an opening, which appeared to be a sort of cave. The entrance was covered with growth and it was difficult to see in, but once I moved some of the growth aside I could get a better view. The entrance was very dark. In fact, it was very dark throughout. But deeper inside the cave I could seen a faint glimmer of light. As I studied this, I began to believe that the glimmer of light was from an opening on the other side of the cave which, of course, made this more of a tunnel than an actual cave.

As I studied it further I began to have the sensation of something being inside the cave. Then came a shadowy movement and a very loud grumble. Without seeing clearly, I knew instantly that there was an enormous bear inside the cave, and I backed away from the opening.

I considered this, and began to understand that to get to where I needed to be on the other side of the wall, I would need to go through the cave. To go through the cave, I would need to encounter the bear. Surely the bear would eat me if I did not prevail. I would need to fight and defeat the bear.

I looked into the opening again. This time the warmth of the bear could be felt, and I imagined that he must have been even bigger than I first considered. My friends and family, all on the other side of the wall, would understand my delay.

In considering my situation, many things went through my head. And I began to see an alternative to fighting the bear. Perhaps there was some way to embrace the bear. To make the bear my friend. To entice the bear to allow me to pass without harm.

I decided to take stock on my physical and mental state, and realized that I was quite tired from the walking I had done, and that emotionally I was not prepared to meet the bear, as a challenger or as a friend. I did not feel confident that I could win in a struggle with the bear, and I decided to stay where I was. This would allow me to rest, meditate and condition myself both physically and mentally for the challenge of meeting the bear.

We all meet with a bear in the cave at some point in our lives. And, at different times, we make the choice of one option over another with regards to how we deal with the bear.

What is important, so it seemed in the moments during my walk, was an understanding and clarity regarding our physical, emotional and psychic condition during these times. Understanding that, just because the bear is present today, it does not mean that today is the best day to engage the bear. We cannot run from the bear (we could, but then we would never accomplish anything), but we can rest for a while, and perform tasks which would facilitate the return of strength and other abilities before engaging the bear.

Neither the wall or the bear were real, but both represented an obstacle that I was dealing with. Even though they existed only in my mind, the experience with the bear in the cave helped me to resolve my conflict and determine a direction.

Bear photo Flickred from derek*b's photos

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