Animal Teachers Reveal Success Through Pleasure

What the anteater and otter show us about success?

It's been called the " id" by Freud, and hedonism by zealots. In truth, the animal self is the part of us that seeks pleasure. Labeling this limits our experience of it. Still for the sake of reference I'll describe this very free, intrinsically joyful aspect of being as "animal." Animal encapsulates it. The living world seeks out pleasure and avoids pain without fear of appearing lazy, foolish or greedy. The irony is that for many animals this creates productivity, dignity and unselfishness. By looking at their actions from a spiritual rather than biological viewpoint we have a tool to unhinge ourselves from our hang-ups.

You otter play

Almost all animals play and act silly when young. Otters continue this into old age, making him a fun furry dude to be around. They romp, wrestle, snow slide, chase each other and play catch-and-release with their dinner. Most of us, myself include, are not nearly so free spirited. For example, I haven't tobogganed since I was eleven and my romping is confined to a spirited jog. I could learn a lot from an otter. Most important: Play is good.

Play is good. We forget this in our rush to achieve and amass. In the otter's game of dinner lost-and-found he shows us that losing can be just as much fun as winning. This is contrary to ego but so is spirit. In the otter's dinner-game he loses lunch but finds freedom: He doesn't need to eat if he doesn't want to. Spiritual aspirants who fast for greater consciousness believe the same but have a lot less fun in the process. The otter has a better idea. He relinquishes without regret or strain.

Dances with spirit

Play is one of the few ways we can lose ourselves without trying. Caught in the moment we may realize a meditative type bliss. Dance can feel like play but for some it is meditation. The spontaneous spasms that characterize ecstatic dance allow us to express spirit with the body. When else can we do this? Compared to ecstatic dance our movements are rigid as a robot's arm. When did we become so reserved? Play and dance help us to become more spontaneous. For some this will be met with cheers. For others, and unfortunately, jeers. It takes courage to march to the beat of a different drum. Yet in practicing courage we develop it. Dancing our private dance in front of the marching crowd is a challenge.

Besides unknotting our muscles, ecstatic dance unties our mind. Though historically this practice has been thought to exist only among humans it seems that the otter, with his flipping and wriggling, would make a great ecstatic dancer. Unlike us he doesn't wait for the music to start to move in a musical fashion. His body is free and expressive. He chooses to move with the fluidity of waves rather than the rigidity of trees. We have the same choice. We don't have to jump in the water to enjoy this experience. Mind-body exercises like pilates, yoga and tai-chi cultivate this creative body motion.

Joyful errors

People make mistakes; animals evolve. We judge ourselves so harshly. Distinctions between right and are necessary in terms of moral issues but they have no meaning when it comes to trying new things. Yet when we make a mistake we are often the first to notice and hope to God no one else does. Nobody likes to feel humiliated. Most of us are concerned about looking foolish or feeling like we're on display to be laughed at. Interestingly, feeling humiliated and being humiliated are two separate matters.

I once watched a show called Pet Star, where an anteater was called to perform an exceptional feat: Climb up a ladder, eat from a bucket, and climb back down. His trainer/owner watched anxiously as the scaly critter ascended the metal stairs. There were a series of clunks on his journey as his tail patted the ladder and a louder clunk when he reached the bucket. He had tipped it over. A heap of berries and throngs of audience members bore witness to shame. But it wasn't the anteater that cringed- it was the owner. The blushing young man proceeded to stammer out excuses for the creature, which by this time had climbed down and was happily eating his dinner off the stage floor. Under the glaring stage lights that illuminated his owner's red-face and sweaty brow, no change could be found in the anteater. He was intent on claiming his berry-delicious reward. Whether or not anyone was impressed didn't matter.

That anteater didn't catch any awards that day. He did, however, capture my heart. I remember what that anteater taught me: There are many mistakes on our way to victory, and others may have not feel we have earned it. We can let this bother us, or like the anteater, we can dine on what we deserve.

Failure is relative

Though his efforts were obvious the anteater didn't perform as desired by others. The anteater dealt with this in a better way than most people. Unlike the anteater we try to interpret other's interpretation of us. This is agony for both inner peace and performance. When feeling like we've failed we interpret every blink as shock and mouth twitch as dismay. This creates the disappointment we fear. We can turn a stumble into slapstick if we have the confidence of Chaplin. Similarly, a misplaced streak on a canvas can create abstract perfection if we desire. Either way we must persist. What if the anteater was to stop striving when applause wasn't forthcoming? Motivated by the end result instead of appearances he continued. All he won was some berries, but then again that's all he wanted.

Getting what you want

What is your heart's desire? If it doesn't seem important to others you may be told, or may feel that your efforts are wasted. It's not. Nobody has the right to determine the value of your dreams. This is between you and the Universal Source. As natural beings our desires are natural, and as long as they don't harm anyone it is our divine right to aspire to them. Whether you want enlightenment, a BMW or the ideal vitamin regimen your work will be rewarded. This is providing that you keep trying. You may not get your prize in the way or at the time you first imagined, but it will come to you. Just remember to dance and play along the way. This will make the journey a lot lighter.

Galina Pembroke is an internationally published writer. In addition she is publisher and editor-in-chief of New View magazine online. New View offers unique, non-mainstream articles on personal and planetary enhancement. To aid this we have rapidly expanding sections on Green Living, Animal Rights and Self-Help. Check us out at http://www.nuvunow.ca

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


Success The Cartoon Character Way?

If you could choose a cartoon character from your childhood... Read More

What ARE the Secrets of the Millionaire Mind?

If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?Becoming a millionaire... Read More

The Characteristics of a Winner

As kind of a hobby I like to watch people.... Read More

Top Ten Ways To Create Positive Behavior Change

1. Open your mind to new ideas: Positive behavior change... Read More

?Defining and Feeling Successful? (However you define success)

Formula For SuccessThe winners in this life know the rules... Read More

Are You an Emerging Champion?

In terms of life success, there are four pretty obvious... Read More

Top 5 Sources of Energy Drain

Along with time and money, energy is one of your... Read More

Can Anyone Become A Successful Business Person?

Can anyone become a successful businessperson? I am asked this... Read More

Success Through Discipline - The Rewards Of Discipline

Many of the problems we have with discipline are caused... Read More

Expect Success to Stay Self-Motivated and Get Great Results

If you called my office you will hear my voice... Read More

How to Network Your Way to Success

Successful people do not achieve success on their own, they... Read More

Becoming a Success Giant!

IntroductionSuccess - we all read about it, hear it on... Read More

Dare to Dream...and Dream Big

Dare to Dream~It is said that every person has at... Read More

Bill Gates: Why He is the Richest Man in the World

Bill is a man for the people, of the people... Read More

Work Life Balance: Work Life a Balancing Act

Australians are loosing their laidback, carefree reputation, as we continue... Read More

Reach Your Goals - Clown Around

Clown around Among the Plains Indians, heyoka, or sacred clowns,... Read More

There is a Technique that can Change Your Life, says Author

Do you feel like your stuck?No matter what you do,... Read More

Two Great Success Tips - Read And Apply What You Learn And Do It Now!

Today I was glad that I had bothered to read... Read More

The Secret Behind All Great Masterpieces: Lessons Learned!

The ten-year period which followed the stock market crash of... Read More

The Ancestral Cream

"I am the greatest warrior. I have fought with gods... Read More

Success: How to Ask the Right Questions

Q. My problem is that I have trouble keeping my... Read More

What Do You Need To Do To Be Successful?

What do you need to do to be successful? If... Read More

Jim Rohns Eleventh Pillar of Success: Accelerated Learning, Part One - You Are a Genius

Hi, Jim Rohn here. This month we focus on accelerating... Read More

10 Critical Success Clues

I don't need to be a gypsy fortune teller to... Read More

You Are What You Think You Are

Think out of the box, they say. But what's a... Read More

Reach Your Goals - Give Yourself A Gold Star

Give yourself a gold star Remember how rewarding it was... Read More

Why the Elephants Dont Run

A number of years ago, I had the rather unique... Read More

How Close Is Your Fortune?

A farmer in Pennsylvania decided to sell his farm, but... Read More

Want To Succeed In Business, Social, Personal Life? Take Good Care Of Your Personal Image

Your personal image: It's the most important YOU asset you... Read More

Discover Your Path to Success - Part 2

Time taken for self-analysis is so important in developing your... Read More

What Do You Feed Your Mind?

"The mind grows by what it feeds on." J.... Read More

Paying Attention

Being a spiritual teacher has continually frightened me. Not because... Read More

Are You the Reason for Your Lack of Success?

Have you ever noticed when playing a video game, or... Read More