I work with a wonderful group of people – heart centered, thoughtful and kind – andI decided recently to host some radio shows featuring them and how animals in general and specifically have touched them and their lives. The response has been phenomenal with so many of them wanting to share their stories with me and with my listeners – I hope you’ll get a chance to tune in on Fridays, 10 am Pacific Time on www.12Radio.com once we start the shows in the New Year.
When discussing the show idea with this group there was one comment that stood out amongst the rest and that was from a colleague whose partner watched a great deal of animal reality shows. You may have watched this kind of program yourself the premise usually being one that pits man against beast in some way. Or perhaps some other “nature” shows that highlight the sex lives of animals (no kidding!), the (to our human brains) sometimes odd physical characteristics of a certain species or just general a day-in-the-life-of an animal. This latter being usually rife with escaping the local predator – or sometimes not – which typically causes high emotional human response of anguish for the prey and anger toward the predator.
I generally don’t watch these shows because I find my sentiments are with all of the animals involved and don’t see the need for the emotional exercise. And I definitely won’t watch the man versus shows because to me it just emphasizes humankind’s skewed view of world dominance. At the same time the discussion with my colleagues led me to the perspective of why some of these shows – animal vs. animal – may be necessary for some humans to watch. You may have already guessed that it has to do with the shadow side of the human personality and our innate need to have balance in this dimension of duality. Think of the yin/yang symbol. A perfect swirl of black and white with a drop of each in its opposite color makes it the perfect analogy for life on our planet. And what may be interesting to you as it is to me is that we humans sometimes forget about nurturing the shadow aspect of ourselves just as we nurture the light aspect. Because it must stay in balance this swirling dynamic of our own personal energy fingerprint. When one side increases – typically the light side because that’s what we focus on and generally speaking get the reward for from other humans – the shadow aspect grows in perfect proportion. Therein may lay the problem if the shadow side doesn’t come out to play on a regular basis.
These animal shows zero in on an exact reflection of our shadow side via death, gore, fighting and the like. When we see another animal – a predator like an orca – hunt and catch a young seal pup there is a resonance in part of us that we may not even know is there much less want to admit to ourselves. It may even feel satisfying in a way to know that this balance exists in Nature and as we are part of Nature it may make it safe for us to claim and embrace this predatory instinct in ourselves in addition to the feeling of being prey. I do think there are other ways to this information-rich part of ourselves via activities like murder mysteries and scary movies that don’t use animals or promote a top-down human hierarchy. I say information-rich because it is in the shadow aspect of ourselves that we stuff all of the attributes that relate to survival and our authentic selves that society says aren’t appropriate to exhibit. They are a necessary and integral part of who we are and a journey into the shadow aspect for me always yields rare jewels of wisdom that may need to be carved from the wall of a dark mine. Hard work and yet infinitely rewarding.
From the viewpoint of the animals they completely acknowledge and act out on a regular basis this balance of light and shadow in a healthy way. Because they don’t think about it – they just ARE it and flow from moment to moment, light to shadow and back again knowing that everything is in divine proportion and they are, in fact, one with the Divine. If this sounds inviting I encourage you to put down the remote and pick up a real life murder mystery or get yourself to a slashy-gorey type movie and only if that resonates with you. Or some other shadow side exercise – Robert A. Johnson’s book on the shadow aspect is an excellent read. Just please think twice the next time you’re drawn to an animal reality show about the reason why – it doesn’t have anything to do with the animals themselves – just you. Photo credit – Who are you? by Edward Webb Photo credit – Yin Yang Symbol by DonkeyHotey