On Sunday, we drove to Drakes Beach in Point Reyes, California. The day dawned clear and rose to sweater weather in the afternoon. Part of the beach was cordoned off to protect unexpected visitors, elephant seals. A female and three young males lounged, occasionally flipping sand on their backs to keep cool. One male rushed the female, practicing his humping technique. She seemed bored and put upon by his youthful antics.
About forty people milled. I listened carefully, and heard comments like “ungainly” and “ugly.” A few people laughed, and made crude jokes while they pointed. That’s what the unexamined human mind does. Discernment, a necessary and useful tool, bleeds into less useful judgement at another’s expense.
This beautiful male–about seven years old, I learned from the naturalist–weighs 2000-3000 pounds. He’s a teenager, who will almost double in weight in the next few years. He is perfectly designed for his ocean habitat, hunting squid ten months of the year in the frigid depths. On the sand, he can move so fast that a human needs to run to get out of his way. He is curious, but not judging the restless humans crowding and pushing to get near. The three naturalists have to be very attentive to keep this crowd safe.
I had a precious minute with him eye-to-eye. Benign awareness radiated–the same awareness I find within myself. There was no other here. Our forms are different, yes. Our ways and habits of being in this world vary. But as we gazed at each other, I noticed that he too, is abiding, at rest in himself.
© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
10 thoughts on “encountering the apparent other”
About forty people milled. I listened carefully, and heard comments like “ungainly” and “ugly.” A few people laughed, and made crude jokes while they pointed. That’s what the unexamined human mind does.
… An “examination” of the human mind might reveal that it is quite healthy (in most folks) until it is negatively conditioned/programmed by significant others (parents) after which the mind can become quite negative and judgmental. The folks who were judging and dissing those seals, secretly live with self-contempt (shame) and were just projecting their inner discomforts onto the seals and other things to get some relief.
Had they not been conditioned/programmed with so much self-contempt and shame, they might have viewed those seals with compassion and friendly acceptance as beloved fellow creatures.
Beautifully expressed Amrita. Presence truly sees no ‘other’
Such a beautiful description, it brought tears to my eyes.
oh my look at those eyes, you captured that look so well. he’s gorgeous! thanks and so lovely to be with you again Amrita! much love vivienne
Beautiful, Amrita!! I can feel it all as I read it!! I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately…so it was lovely to get this sweet post from you…
With love, Arlene
He certainly looks tranquil and self-possessed.
Lovely! Thank you for sharing your experience and the photo!
Drake’s Beach was always one of my favorite spots to walk and think, but i never got to see seals there! Cool! Love the photo. And the consciousness.
What good fortune to have eye contact with these magnificent fellow inhabitants on this precious planet. Thank you for gracing us with your musings. Now we get a glimmer of beauty through your eyes, Justine Toms
What a magnificent creature!
It seems to take a slowing down to be able to “see” the porousness (or illusion) of separation. Thank you for sharing this!