Last night I watched a dog dream. She yelped, barked, and shook wildly. Her legs churned as if running and she quivered. No doubt about it, she was having an elaborate dream consisting of thoughts and images unfolding intricately inside her mind. It ultimately woke her, and she thought that something was amiss. The intensity of the dream stuck with her, and she felt the need to patrol the house. If a dog dreams so vividly, and in a similar fashion as humans, how many other forms of life have a version of thought, dreams, knowledge, or understanding? We honestly don’t know.
We often tend to dismiss other life as just not mentally aware enough to warrant our superior attention. But it has become a scientific fact that even plants have a method of communication. There may be “senses” we are not even aware of. It’s a fabulous mystery, and one that deserves our respect and contemplation.
The Native Americans believed all natural life, as well as some inanimate objects, contained a special force bestowed upon them by the Creator. In a sense, everything of this world had a founding spark within, and some form of knowledge of their place in the natural world. They did not worship animals and other forces such as the wind and the sun as “idols”, but honored them as reverent pieces of the ultimate puzzle. For the Native Americans, life and death was not so puzzling at all.
When you walk through the forest, look closely at all that you see. Close your eyes then, and feel the connection. There is a cycle. Human, animal, plant, and earth, all intertwined, and ultimately never ending. To the Native Americans, this connection is all a gift and a part of belonging to a whole that is greater than we ever imagined.
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