Humans are animals, but with an ego.
It is this ego that makes us assume that we are superior to others. But here we are wrong. We are not superior, or inferior to our fellow animals, maybe more intelligent, but not better. There are things that we can learn from them, like selflessness, compassion, love for nature, and a deep understanding of its true power. Animals may not use computers like us, but they do know that nature breeds them. They will rarely do anything that harms Mother Nature. But we, the humans, fed by ego, will do everything that gives us pleasure and an overwhelming sense of power over nature.
Animals have a lot to teach us to lead a safer, healthier and happier life. But first of all, we need to realise our connection with nature and flush out everything that poses any harm to Mother Earth. Using charcoal floss or a wooden toothbrush is just the beginning. We need to first fall in love with the greens!
Let us consider the cleanliness factor.
Suppose you are on an adventurous hiking trip. You will come across a lot of waste on your way, like animal faeces, snake skins, broken branches, but most of all, you will notice plastics. From chocolate wrappers and plastic bottles to unwanted food, cardboard and paper waste, you will find numerous materials lying about on the trail. These are not animal waste? These are synthetic waste that people throw away without thinking about their impact on the environment. No animal creates as much waste as we do. And each of these materials has detrimental environmental consequences. Plastics can kill animals that mistake those for food. So, knowing how to keep your environment clean is one thing we can learn from animals. What are the others? Scroll on!
Enjoying the present
Animals live in the present and worry only about their present. When they hunt, they aim to fulfil their needs for today and not tomorrow, or the day after. We plan a lot by saving our resources, investing and multiplying them. We even fail to enjoy our present in an attempt to secure our future. Animals worry less about the future and more about their present. Well, it does not mean you will stop saving your salary and spend it all on shopping. No! But what we can learn from the animals is to focus more on the present and try to make it better. But saving for the rainy day is something else entirely. Did you ever hear about beavers or chipmunks that store food to devour later? Yes, that is what is being said here.
Respecting the balance
Animals understand that all species are interconnected. For example, if the population of a certain species increases rapidly in a particular geographic location, members of that species will stop breeding for a while, until the number drops. And now, look at us. We have drastically outnumbered every other species, but we are least concerned about the consequences. Hence, we should respect the natural balance, as animals do.
Depending more on nature and natural derivatives
The animals fulfil all their needs from nature. They do not use plastic bags to carry their kill, nor do they use cars to move for miles in search of food. While we cannot stop using vehicles in the modern world, we can always eliminate plastics from our lives. By replacing plastic bags with those made of natural fibres, a plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush, plastic mobile covers with wood cases, and of course, the plastic earbuds with cotton swabs, we will indeed do Mother Nature a favour. However, removing plastics from our lives is not going to be a cakewalk. Plastic has captured our hearts in a way an attractive, but malicious partner does. If we have to divorce plastic, we have to first get it out of our minds. Starting with small things, like bags, toys, and toothbrushes, can help.
Living with less weight
We the humans are more rooted than animals, which can move on at one blink of an eye. They carry a lot less baggage than humans and are always ready to move. Let us understand this with a dramatic example. If there is an earthquake, the animals will run for their lives, and if they have kids, they will carry them too to safety. When it comes to humans, it may not be so easy for us. We tend to think about so many things at once. For example, if the house breaks down, will I get insurance? Is the brand new Smart TV covered? Where is the laptop? Where did I keep my wallet? Our mind will never let us focus on just saving our lives. While we may run outside, we will not be at relief unless all these questions get answered. We should learn to live with lesser baggage from the animals.
Interpreting the silence around you
When was the last time you tried to interpret someone’s silence? We depend so much on words that we have forgotten that silence has a deep meaning and an even deeper significance. Trees do not talk, and nor does some animals. But they are alive just as we are. No one is asking you to stop speaking altogether. But sometimes, you can go mute for a while and observe everything around you. Silence is a language in itself. You will understand once you start practising it, like the animals. That is exactly what meditation is about – silence, observance and patience!
At this age, when sustainability is on the cards of everyone, who has realised the superiority of nature over humans, we can indeed learn a lot from anim