Posted by janey, Mon Aug-21-00 05:13 AM
Maybe the difference between adult humans and babies/animals is the lack of intellectual analysis. So much of what we do is colored by our thoughts about it. We project into the future what the consequences of each action are, and we believe our predictions, even though they are just mind constructs.
For example, what is fear? Fear is a thought about the future. If a bear is chasing you and you feel fear, are you "afraid" of the bear chasing you? No, you're afraid of what will happen if the bear catches you. If the bear catches you, are you afraid of that? No, you hate it, you're in pain, whatever, but you're not afraid of the pain, you're feeling the pain. If you're still afraid, what you're worried about is what's coming next. You see what I mean? So it's all a mind construct in the present moment.
Animals/babies presumably don't go through that intellectual analysis.
But I don't think that necessarily means that they are "better." With intellectual analysis, and with spacious awareness and consciousness, we are able to discern among skillful and unskillful means of reaching our goals. We're able to distinguish harmful and beneficial. So the trick probably isn't to give up intellectual analysis altogether, but maybe just to cultivate an openness to seeing more broadly -- trying to see the effect of our actions on all creatures.
I think it was Gandhi who said, "Before you take any action, consider the poorest person you have ever met, and ask yourself whether this action will have any benefit to them." Animals don't do that.
But animals do have a sense of immediacy that we can cultivate, I think. I think it takes a lot of practice and I think that it's the work of a lifetime, but I think that we can become more present to our moment to moment awareness.