The Big Picture

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Recently I was on a wildlife safari in Ndutu, Tanzania, in the Northern Serengeti. On one of our last days, we rose early before dawn to see which creatures were out and about. We stumbled upon a mama lion and her four baby cubs and watched them up close from our jeeps for a little while. The sun in Ndutu is hot, and the region is arid- a dustbowl by any measure- and lions need to hydrate early and often to manage the day comfortably. The lions we encountered were generally tolerant of humans photographing them, but lions are as protective of their cubs as we are of our little humans, so some caution is appropriate. As they moved toward a nearby water source to drink, we pulled back to give them space & comfort to make that walk without fear of intrusion or harm. 

We watched from across the stream as the lions moved slowly and cautiously toward the bank, mama desperately trying to maintain control of the cubs, who were wandering this way and that. It's difficult to herd cats- even for lions! 

The mama lion finally gathered her kids and started down the hill toward the bank. As the sun grew bigger and hotter in the sky, other trucks and jeeps appeared on location. But they didn't creep up to the spot or pay any heed to what the lions were doing or attempting to do. They didn't even notice our retreated position. The SUV's moved up the hill at speed, vehicles cutting each other off to score the best view. This abrupt action spooked the mama and the babies, and they retreated away from the cooling water and back into the building heat of the day. 

We've all been in this situation before: a scenario is playing out, and someone bursts into the scene without taking full stock of what is going on. They have their blinders on and can only see one possible conclusion, and they act based on their limited viewpoint. Whether it's jumping to conclusions or taking control of a conversation without understanding the backstory, the result is typically pain and misunderstanding, or worse. 

Our meditation practice helps us avoid this fate. Every time we take the opportunity to fit in our practice, we are releasing stress and clearing out the cobwebs in our mind,  expanding our consciousness. Expanded consciousness brings with it a greater awareness and perspective, and when this happens, our blinders come off: we can pull back and see the big picture, to evaluate and appreciate the truth of every situation. The result is clear intention, better communication, and the best possible action or resolution. 

Everyone wants the macro view, to see the full spectrum of every moment and be our best selves in every situation. It feels like a super-human skill, but it doesn't have to be. Meditate twice a day, and it will become your reality.