Continued from Chapter 13.
“The Toltecs and other native cultures of the Americas believe that the spirit of an animal has chosen to be one of your guides. On a spirit level you have agreed to accept its help. This animal spirit has been with you for some time now and knows your thoughts and dreams. It knows other information too, and can try to share that information with you.” Don Emilio
By Richard Juarez
The more that time passed, the more I found I really looked forward to spending time with Don Emilio. The stuff he had talked about so far was not the typical boring stuff we trudged through in school. Some of it sounded strange, but in a good way. I didn’t really understand it yet, but I knew these ancient teachings were really important stuff, and that I would eventually want to share it with others. I was glad that Don Emilio and people like him were making an effort to see that this knowledge was preserved.
“Let us talk about your energy practices over the last four weeks,” said Don Emilio. Tony and I were happy to be back in the garden shed, ready for another session with him after the break. “Did you get used to feeling the energy between your hands?”
“Stretching the energy and pushing it back was kind of fun,” I said. “Each time I felt the energy between my hands it reminded me that we’re learning how to move it and use it in ways that most people don’t know anything about.”
“I found out something really weird,” said Tony, looking anxious to share his news. “One night I was in my room and I was doing that pushing and stretching of the energy, and realized that I could hear it! There was like a soft buzz or vibration whenever my hand got close to my face or my ear. And I accidentally found out I could throw the energy off the tip of my fingers.”
I looked at Tony in great surprise, because he hadn’t said anything to me about it.
“I know, I know, I didn’t tell you,” he said, looking at me. “It freaked me out at first, so I wanted to do it a few more times on different days, just to be sure I wasn’t imagining it, or dreaming. I wanted to ask Don Emilio about it first, to be sure. But I know what I heard.”
“Tell me what you did,” I said as I put my hand up to my ears, trying to hear something. When I cupped my hands on my ears, I could hear a sound.
“No, not that ocean sound. It’s more like a low vibration when my hand is flat, or my fingers point straight in. I have trouble hearing it outside during the day—there is too much other sound. At night, inside, when it’s quiet, I can hear it.”
“Tell us how you discovered you could throw the energy,” said Don Emilio.
“I was listening to the sound of the energy coming from my fingers, and was testing to see how far away from my ear my fingers could move before I could no longer hear the buzz. And I discovered that when I flicked my finger I could hear the buzz again for a brief moment. So I played with moving my fingers farther away and flicking or pushing the energy toward my ears.”
“That is so cool,” I said laughing, “I can’t wait to try that tonight.”
Don Emilio smiled. I could tell by his look that he already knew about this, but he was enjoying hearing Tony explain his great discovery.
“I have a question,” said Tony. “If this is throwing energy off finger tips, is this similar to how Kung Fu masters send energy from their hands and knock an opponent back?”
“Yes, it is, but it takes a lot of practice to build up and store the tremendous amount of energy required, and a very forceful release. That is quite a way from flicking energy off fingertips, but it is similar. Energy responds to our intent and our action.”
“Hey, Tony, this is right up your alley.” Then, looking at Don Emilio, I added, “Tony has been taking karate lessons at the youth center, for a long time. He’s really good at it.”
Don Emilio nodded. “I am not surprised you made this discovery, Antonio, and that you thought it might be related to energy in martial arts. Perhaps you will be able to find a way to combine your knowledge of martial arts with what you will learn in our discussions on energy.”
We talked some more about our practice exercises, with both of us reporting better success staying focused on our breath, and reducing the mental chatter. But we still had a lot of thoughts going in and out. Don Emilio told us again not to worry, that with practice we would improve.
“Before I talk any more about this path of our ancestors, this way of being,” said Don Emilio, “I want you to actually experience a small part of it for yourselves. Both of you relax there in your chairs, like we did before. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, exhaling fully.”
I sat up straighter and adjusted my feet so I felt more comfortable, and took some deep breaths.
“Breathe normally for a few minutes, focusing on your breath.” Don Emilio spoke slowly. His deep resonating voice was calming and relaxing.
“We are going to shift now,” he said softly as drumming music started playing, “from focusing on the breath, to a different focus—an inner journey.” He paused briefly while we listened to the beating of the drums, which relaxed me even more.
“Imagine yourself now in a beautiful mountain setting, perhaps in a place familiar to you or one you can imagine, with lots of tall trees, colorful flowers, and lush green grasses. You are walking along a trail in this beautiful setting, and you come to a small clearing, where you stop for a few moments to enjoy the surroundings.” He paused.
“Now you notice a path leading away from the main trail, a path that goes up the side of a hill, higher and higher into what looks like a layer of white clouds. You leave the main trail and follow the path as it gently climbs up into the clouds. You find it refreshing as you move into the coolness of the cloud mist.
“As you continue walking you see an animal emerge from the mist. You keep going and you recognize this animal, because it is one you are interested in, your favorite animal! Now, remember, this is a non-physical journey, so the wild animal cannot injure you. Keep walking on this path until the animal comes up to you.” He paused again briefly. “Finally, the animal comes close, and you meet your power animal, an animal spirit that has chosen you for mutual learning. Go up to the animal, greet it, touch it, and get to know it.”
Don Emilio asked us both to nod yes if we had met our animal yet. Keeping my eyes closed, I nodded. After a few moments, he continued.
“Most likely, you do not really know much about your power animal. Just like a human friend, you will want to get to know it—where it lives, its behaviors and strengths, how it views the world. But you cannot really get to know your power animal unless you can become one with it. Your power animal is prepared to let you do just that, to merge with it, to do what we call shape shifting, so that you can see the world from its eyes.
“So, thank your animal friend in advance for this great favor, and now, merge your awareness with it. Do not look at two objects merging. Rather, be your awareness on that path in the clouds. See yourself moving closer as you go inside and finally merge with your power animal.
See and feel yourself become this animal.
“Look out from that animal’s eyes. See what your skin looks like, what your hands and feet look like. Discover how it feels to be that animal. Move around, the way your power animal moves around. Look around the way that animal looks around. Spend some time being this animal. Let it take you to where it lives. See where it rests and sleeps. Be aware of where it takes you and how you get there. Get to know its territory, and how it moves about there.”
He paused to let us be with the animal. After a few minutes of quiet, he began again.
“Now, while you are merged with your power animal, I want you to leave this forest path and transport yourselves back to your human home, Barrio Logan, San Diego. Start from any location here.” He paused for a few moments to give us time to find ourselves in Barrio Logan.
“Begin to move away from your starting point so you can see more of the neighborhood and perhaps the surrounding community. Move about just as your animal would move…. Examine the area you can see. Make a note of items that catch your eye.”
He paused again so we could follow his instructions and look around.
“Continue your movement. Maybe you want to move out farther. What do you see? You see a lot, but what do you really notice that you didn’t notice before? Keep looking with your animal’s eyes and instincts. Move out farther, or closer if you need to, to see what your animal wants you to see. Notice anything that catches your attention.”
He paused again for a while, and I continued to experience the strange sensation of looking out of different eyes. I could feel myself moving back and forth, from an awareness of myself as my animal, to an awareness of myself, and back. It was strange to be doing that. Physically it felt strange too, like an electric charge going through me.
After what seemed like a long period of silence, Don Emilio’s voice brought me slowly back from what felt like a deep dream, as he spoke softly.
“Okay, I want you to slowly separate from your power animal now. Thank your animal spirit for allowing you to merge with it, and allow it to leave. Take a few seconds to come back. You may want to just wiggle your fingertips and your toes, or move your hands or feet just a bit to help yourself come back to the garden shed this afternoon. Now, slowly open your eyes.”
“Hey, trippy, man,” said Tony, sounding groggy. “I feel like I’m a little high.”
“I really zoned out,” I said. “I was totally gone, but your voice shocked me when you spoke. It was like I was dreaming and you woke me up.”
“Yeah, it was like a dream,” said Tony, “but one that I could change.”
“Not everyone can follow a guided journey the first time and go that deeply into a trance state,” said Don Emilio. “Some have difficulty visualizing. That was good. Let us talk about it. What animal did you become? Antonio, you first.”
“Well, I’ve always liked the wolf, el lobo, the grey wolf. I have a poster of one in my room. It felt comfortable for me to be a wolf. I was really able to imagine myself as one, to walk like a wolf. Vincent,” Tony said, turning to me, “I bet you were an eagle.”
“No brainer, I’ve always felt a connection with the eagle. Especially after that dream I had. So I sorta know what it’s like to be an eagle. When you had us move around like the animal, I was immediately flying.”
“Describe your animal’s actions, Antonio,” Don Emilio continued. “Describe what you saw as you moved around the neighborhood. What caught your eye, or rather, your animal’s eye?”
“The wolf … well, I stayed in Barrio Logan, circling around the neighborhood, going back and forth, seeing what was there, realizing that no one could see me. I looked at businesses, homes, cars, yards with plants and flowers, yards full of weeds and trash, and graffiti on the walls.
With each step I felt the earth, listened for danger, and watched, always on the lookout, watching people going about their business.
“Next, I found myself inside the youth center watching a karate class. I started stalking again, watching the instructor going through his moves, then moving to the back of the room, watching the kids as they practiced the moves. I saw some were just going through the motions, not really caring if they were doing it right. Others were trying hard to get it right.”
Tony paused, and seemed ready to ask a question, but Don Emilio spoke first.
“I know you have a lot of questions Antonio, but first, let’s hear what Vicente saw.” They both turned to look at me.
“It felt so great to be back in the sky again, flying free. I felt full of power and so happy. After a while I realized I hadn’t gone anywhere but up, so I started to move outward and could see long distances because I was up so high. I was up so high that I noticed things more on a large scale than in smaller details. I saw the freeways, major roads, the bay, the green of Balboa Park, the business district downtown, then the houses up in Hillcrest and North Park. I noticed the business district strips along University Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard, with groups of houses and apartments on both sides.
“As I looked to the east I could see San Diego State. Suddenly I was flying out over the college, circling around it, looking at all the buildings, the traffic, and all the people moving around. That’s where I was when your voice came in, Don Emilio, and then it all faded away.”
“Well done. You both saw a lot of detail, which is very good for the first time. You discovered your ‘power animal,’ as we call it, and experienced what it felt like to be that animal. Then you saw what your power animal wanted you to see. You successfully completed half of the exercise. The second half will be equally important. Your task is to figure out what this journey meant. What was your animal spirit trying to tell you? Why did your animal notice what it saw?
“Antonio,” said Don Emilio with sudden authority in his voice, “tell me quickly, and do not worry about what anybody would say or think. Say the first thing that comes to mind. Why do you think your power animal took you to the youth center?”
Tony hesitated at first, and then quickly responded.
“Well, I’m taking a karate class there, but I didn’t recognize the kids or the instructor.”
“What did you notice? What struck you about what you saw there?”
“I was surprised at how different the kids were in their ability to follow the instructor, or maybe about whether they cared to follow and do it right.”
“And does that mean anything to you?”
“Well, I could see that some were doing it wrong and I wanted to go up there and help them do it right, but I knew they couldn’t see me. It was like I wanted to help teach the class. I think I’d like to do that in the future.”
“And you, Vicente,” Don Emilio said with that sudden authority again, “tell us why your power animal had you looking at freeways, roads, parks, business districts and housing areas. When have you thought about that before?”
“I went to some meetings with my father where city planners from downtown put up maps for Barrio Logan showing those kind of things. I remember thinking that I might like doing studies like those planners to improve the community. When I saw the city from the eagle’s view, it was a lot like looking at those planning maps. But I don’t know why I was looking at San Diego State. You think maybe I’m gonna go there and star on the baseball team?”
I looked over at Tony, and he just rolled his eyes.
“Do you think so?” Don Emilio asked.
“Nah, I was just kidding. I can’t hit a curve ball. My career is over.” Tony and I both laughed while Don Emilio smiled, doing all he could to keep from laughing.
“So,” he said, trying to stay on the subject, “what else about San Diego State?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought much about college.”
“Not to butt in or analyze what’s being said,” Tony added, glancing quickly at Don Emilio, “but I read last month in the El Sol newspaper something about a city planning program at State, and about students doing internships around the city, including Barrio Logan.”
“So maybe my eagle is telling me to go to San Diego State?”
“Or perhaps to look into it,” said Don Emilio. “In Antonio’s case, his power animal seemed to encourage him to pursue thoughts he already had about teaching karate. In your case, Vicente your eagle spirit gave you new information, perhaps encouraging you to go to San Diego State.”
Tony had a confused look on his face as he motioned to Don Emilio.
“Hold it a minute. What is going on here? How can this wolf know what I was thinking, when I was barely thinking about it? If it was reading my mind, how did Vincent’s eagle come up with information that he wasn’t even thinking? Where is the eagle getting this information?”
“Those are good questions. The Toltecs and other native cultures of the Americas believe that the spirit of an animal has chosen to be one of your guides and helpers. On a spirit level you have agreed to accept its help. This animal spirit has been with you for some time now and knows your thoughts, dreams, and your subconscious thoughts. It knows other information, too, from its observation or other sources, and it can try to share that information with you.”
“But what if I have trouble believing that?” Tony asked.
“Well, another belief is that this power animal spirit is really an image created by your own Higher Self as a way to provide you with new information and inspiration.”
Oh man, I was having trouble following this before. Now he was losing me. “I remember you mentioned this before, but we didn’t go into it much. What’s my subconscious, and how did information about San Diego State get in there? And the Higher Self–that’s what our soul is a part of?”
“I have the same questions,” said Tony. “How is talking about things like a Higher Self going to help us? And this stuff about animal spirits, how is thinking about or dreaming about a wolf or eagle spirit going to help us?”
“It is important to know how these can help you,” Don Emilio explained. “My intention is to walk you through a number of experiences and techniques that can help you to increase your spiritual energy and awareness, and open up lines of communication with nonphysical guides who may be of help to you, such as angels, spirit beings, your Higher Self, or power animals.
“The power animals have a unique way of accessing information, based on their own animal nature. As you learn to connect with your animal spirit, and get more in tune with its nature, you will more easily access information not available by other means. How you approach certain situations, or the actions you take, may reflect your animal’s knowledge or nature.”
“Uhh,” Tony grunted, still looking confused. “Can you give me an example?”
“Well, say for example you were learning the next level of karate moves. Approaching it from your wolf nature, instead of just standing in a line with the other students and practicing the moves, you might want to observe the teacher in detail, seeing the move from every angle. You might even want to watch a video to learn different techniques. Part of your wolf nature might be to eventually teach it. Many native cultures view the wolf people as the clan of teachers. The individual with the wolf nature returns to the clan to share what he has learned.
“Okay, I see what you mean,” said Tony. “It’s true; I think I learn best by watching the instructor doing each move. Just practicing it after a short demonstration doesn’t work as well for me. I need to see it done, over and over, so I know I’ve got it right. And I think it would be pretty cool to teach karate.”
“What about the eagle?” I asked. “How can the eagle help me?”
“First of all understand that you both have access to the help of both animal spirits as you focus on them, get to know and understand their nature, and take time to connect with their spirits. But each of you has a stronger connection to the spirit of the animal you already identified. Now, regarding the eagle, because it soars so high in the heavens and has such great vision, native peoples associate the eagle with the Great Spirit. Eagle vision helps you to take a broader view of issues you encounter, and to find answers without getting bogged down in the fine details. This ability to see beyond the day-to-day issues is also related to being able to dream or envision the future, being a visionary.”
Tony started ask a question, but then shook his head. “I have more questions, but I can wait.”
“You do not have to wait for me to find out more about your power animals. You might want to do a little research. Perhaps a trip to the library or the zoo could help. As for your previous questions about your subconscious and your conscious self, I do not want to overwhelm you. I think this has been plenty for one day. So we will discuss those more in a later session.”
As we left for the day, Tony and I agreed that some research would be good and we would compare notes after.
Two weeks later, Tony was waiting for me at the bus stop bench by his house. We had decided to take a trip to the zoo, as Don Emilio had suggested. I had gone to the downtown library to look up information on eagles, and brought along my notes to share with Tony.
“I want to hear what you’ve got. I’ve got my notes too,” said Tony, as he pulled a sheet of paper from his back pocket and unfolded it. “Let’s read them while we wait for the bus.”
“Okay, I’ll do mine. The eagle is thought of as a sacred bird because it flies the highest and closest to the Great Spirit. It also has really powerful vision, able to see long distances. Native Americans say eagle medicine connects us with the Great Spirit and helps to awaken our inner vision and intuition, and also helps us to see our outer surroundings with greater clarity and insight. They also say that the fearless eagle, flying so high and free, gives us the courage to face our problems, and encourages us to spread our wings and break free from limiting thoughts.”
“Hey, that was pretty good,” said Tony, “especially that part about awakening inner visions, and courage to face problems. Very much like what Don Emilio told us.”
“Yeah, and I like the part about spreading our wings and breaking free. And the wolf?”
“Wait, before I read mine––you didn’t get that out of an encyclopedia, did you?”
“No, I got different parts of it from books on Native Americans and animals. And you?”
“Oh, I just used an encyclopedia and National Geographic in the school library. I got some good stuff too. Listen to this: The gray wolf looks similar to a German shepherd dog, with a thick, shaggy gray coat, mixed with black and brown, erect ears, and a bushy tail. The typical adult male weighs 100 to 120 pounds. They can run short distances at more than 30 miles per hour. They live and hunt in packs of 6 to 10, and can cover 12 miles or more in a day. They are territorial by nature and can be aggressive towards other packs, using their high-pitched howl to warn other wolves not to come into their territory.”
“Hey,” I said laughing, “that last part sounds like gangs protecting their turf.”
“Yeah, it does. Maybe we should practice howling along with everything else we practice.”
“Aaoooooo!” I responded.
“No, really, I’m serious,” said Tony. “I saw a kung fu movie on TV, and the good guy used a high-pitched howl to shake up his opponents. I think it might be good for me to incorporate a blood-curdling howl into my karate moves, to bring the power and spirit of the wolf into mymoves. Don’t you think that would be pretty cool?”
“HAAOOOOOO!” I screamed.
“HAAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” screamed Tony, sounding really menacing. I thought he must have already been practicing.
Thank goodness the bus arrived just in time to save our vocal cords. We rode into downtown and transferred to the route 7 bus that went up Park Boulevard and into Balboa Park. After a short ride we got off and were walking toward the zoo when we heard a familiar voice.
It was Gloria. She and her sister Linda were coming from the main part of the park, walking toward the zoo entrance.
“My, what a surprise meeting you here,” Linda said, with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
“Yeah, what a coincidence,” I said, looking at Tony. I remembered that during the week, I had mentioned to Gloria that Tony and I were going to the zoo on Saturday. She seemed curious why we were going. I just told her we had to do some research for our work with Don Emilio.
“You girls want to go into the zoo with us?” Tony asked, knowing they didn’t.
“Uh, no,” said Gloria, “Linda and I were just getting some walking exercise.”
“Uh … yeah, walking exercise,” said Linda. Clearly, Linda hadn’t wanted to do this.
“We’re waiting for my little sister,” Gloria continued. “She’s taking a guitar class over at the Centro Cultural. We gave her a ride and decided to walk around a little.”
“Nice place to get some exercise,” said Tony.
“She wanted the exercise, not me,” Linda chimed in. “But since I’ve got your attention, what in the heck are you two fools doing still hanging out with your hoodlum buddies? I’ve been telling Gracie and Alice that you two had better watch it with those guys. But they said you don’t listen, and that everyone has been telling you the same thing.”
“Linda!” said Gloria, surprised by her outburst.
“Well, it’s true!” Linda insisted. Then, looking first at me, then at Tony, she said, “Anyway, what’s this about a—ow!”
Gloria elbowed Linda and cut her off in mid-sentence, saying to me, “We heard you’ve been over at your grandfather’s house meeting with his cousin from Mexico every week.”
It sounded like Nana had been giving Doña Rosa the full blow by blow.
“They say he’s teaching you some things about old Mexican ways. But I was wondering … I mean, we were wondering, how come you want to study with a … a….”
“Brujo!” Linda blurted, like she couldn’t wait to get the word out. “We heard you’re taking lessons from a brujo.” Her voice escalated. “That could be as bad as your other trouble, or worse, you know! Gracie said he’s your relative and he’s a good person, but I don’t know. I’ve heard a lot of bad things about brujos. When our Nana heard about you studying with him, she crossed herself and started praying for you.” Gloria elbowed Linda harder, trying to make her stop.
“Oh, we don’t meet with him every week,” I said.
“Right now we’re just practicing a few ancient pagan rituals,” Tony added enthusiastically, “using chickens and….”
“I knew it!” hissed Linda. “Nana said that brujos do these pagan rituals with chickens. She was right! That’s what he’s teaching them!”
“Come on, Tony,” I begged, “cut it out! They’re gonna think that’s what we’re learning.”
“So … you’re just kidding … right?” asked Gloria, not sure of the answer.
“Of course I’m just kidding,” Tony answered. “You don’t really think Vincent and I would be doing ritual sacrifices with chickens right there in his grandmother’s back yard, do you?”
“Well, no,” said Gloria, “but I….”
“We do that in my grandmother’s back yard, with her chickens!”
“EEK!! screamed Linda, as Gloria stood there with her mouth open, staring at Tony.
“Oh … you guys!” said Gloria, as she laughed weakly, finally getting the joke. She turned toward her sister, who wasn’t laughing, and said emphatically, “Hey, they were kidding!”
“Really, Linda,” I said. “He was kidding. Don Emilio isn’t the kind of brujo who deals with black magic and rituals with animals. He’s teaching us about connecting with God and other spirits, and about the energies that connect all things in the universe.”
“So you guys aren’t really studying anything about animals like we heard?” Linda asked.
“I don’t know what you’ve heard, but we did learn about our power animals,” said Tony.
“We learned how to connect with the spirit consciousness of our power animal—the eagle for me, and the wolf for Tony.”
“Power animals? Spirit consciousness? What in the heck are you guys talking about?” Linda asked.
“Well,” I answered, not wanting to get into too much detail for fear of screwing it up worse than we had so far, “after we’ve learned a little more, maybe we can tell you about it.”
“Hey, I feel really connected to the eagle,” said Gloria. “Is that my power animal?”
“Could be, just like me.” I answered, smiling at her, and thinking to myself that teaching her about this stuff would be a great way to be able to spend a little time with her.
“Well, I still don’t think my grandmother or my mother would want us involved with any of this brujo stuff,” Linda quickly interjected.
I could feel my smile fall right off. Gloria saw my expression change and quickly reached up and gently pinched me on the cheek. “We’ll see, Vinnie,” she said smiling, “we’ll see.”
Ah, those big brown eyes of hers, and that smile! She put a big grin right back on my face.
Linda looked at her watch. “Gloria, we better get going.”
“You guys have fun,” said Gloria, waving goodbye. “See you around.”
“And leave those chickens alone,” Linda called out laughing as they walked away.
After they got far enough away, Tony said, “I think she’s in love with you.”
“Aw, Tony, come on. She’s just a friend. She’s not in love with me.”
“Well then, she’s definitely in like with you. And she’s gonna want to know more about what we learn from Don Emilio. Heck, she’s gonna have to learn enough from you on the sly to be able to get her mother and grandmother to back off.”
“I sure hope she succeeds,” I said with that big grin still on my face, “because I wouldn’t mind being able to spend more time with her. I wouldn’t mind that at all.”
Inside the zoo, it was like another world, with its many colors, sounds and smells. The first thing one sees is the flamingos exhibit, with many of these beautiful pink birds just standing there motionless on one long leg. There was constant chatter above, from the soft chirping of small local birds flying freely, to the loud caw, caw, from larger exotic caged varieties.
“Let’s go check out our power animals,” said Tony. “Yours is closest.”
We walked toward the bird section, weaving in and out of the crowd of slower moving people, which thinned out as we moved away from the main entrance. On the way we passed the monkey enclosures, and could hear lots of monkey chatter, including the loud whoop, whoop, whoop calls. When at the zoo, I usually stopped to watch the monkeys chasing each other, swinging around their enclosures, hanging by arms, legs, or tails. But not this time. I wanted to get to the birds, which were just past the monkeys. Once there, I immediately went to the eagle exhibit. Talk about sad. In my dream I saw the eagle flying free, able to sail with the wind through the clouds. This poor guy was all alone in a cage that was only about 20 by 20 and 15 feet high.
“Man, this isn’t the place to get to know my animal. I should get my parents to take me out to the zoo’s Wild Animal Park. I understand eagles fly out by that area.”
“Well, we’re here,” said Tony. “So do your exercises, and then we’ll go see the wolves.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” I said. I sat down on the bench in front of the eagle cage. An elderly couple was standing up close to the cage, blocking my view. I figured they’d eventually leave, so I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths, relaxed my body, and then just focused my attention on my normal breathing, in … and out … trying to reduce the voices in my head, and to block out the monkey chatter. When I opened my eyes, the couple had gone.
The eagle was in the back of his cage. I closed my eyes again, and now, in a light trance, I projected myself in my mind out toward the eagle, like I had done on the shamanic journey. I imagined myself right inside the cage with the eagle and focused on sending him my energy, right out from my heart. I did this for a few minutes with my eyes closed.
When I opened my eyes, the eagle had moved closer to the front of the cage and was looking at me! I was starting to feel really good about being here, but as I sat there watching him, I suddenly had this very bad feeling, like a deep sadness. I closed my eyes, and immediately I was thinking about my dream. I was sailing around, flying free, and I wanted to be back there.
Suddenly the loud ruffling of feathers brought me back. I opened my eyes just in time to see the eagle slowly bring his outstretched wings back close to his body, as if again realizing he was in this small cage, and wasn’t going to be flying out of there anytime soon. That’s how I felt sometimes too, confined by the cage of everyone’s rules and expectations, telling me what to do and when to do it, where to be and when to go, what to study and when to learn it by, and what kind of grade I had to get. I often wished I was older, past my teens. Then I would be able to make my own decisions, and do what I wanted to do.
I closed my eyes again and tried to see if I could sense any kind of message from the eagle. But I couldn’t get anything. I just continued to feel really bad about the small cage, like the walls were right on top of him. Eagles need to fly free. What was an eagle doing in such a small cage?
“Hey, Vincent, look at what it says here,” Tony called out. “The eagles here have been found injured. They take care of them here until they’ve healed, then they take them out near the Wild Animal Park and let them go. How great. They don’t have to be in a cage like this forever.”
That made me feel a little better, but I was still irritated at the thought of the eagle being confined in such a small space. I thought perhaps that’s why I didn’t get any message, or maybe my own feeling of sadness for him got in the way. Anyway, I wanted to get away from there.
“Okay, I’m done,” I said. “Let’s go see the wolves.”
The wolves were kept on the upper mesa, near the western edge of the zoo. The two grey wolves were both female. I sat on a bench away from Tony so he could do his thing. While he was concentrating, both wolves left the back of the enclosure and came up near the front fence.
They paced back and forth along the fence, carefully checking out Tony, and looking over at me. They were aware of everything going on around them. They even looked closely at the people walking behind us who didn’t come up close to the fence. Eventually they tired of this and strolled to the rear of the enclosure.
When he was done, Tony got up and stretched. I was dying to ask him what he had felt or seen, but decided to wait and let him open up if he wanted to.
“You wanna see anything else?” he asked.
“Not really. Earlier I thought about seeing the snakes, but I’ve seen enough for today.”
We left the zoo and walked out to Park Boulevard to catch the bus, neither of us saying anything the whole time. On the bus to ride home, I finally asked Tony if he had picked up anything, or felt anything as a result of sitting there with the wolf.
“Well, I noticed as we walked through the park and over to the bus stop, I was much more aware of the people around us than I had been before. I was really looking around, like a wolf would. I was noticing things, and people. Normally, I don’t think I would have been looking around so closely at everything. I was looking all around me, just like when we did that power animal exercise with Don Emilio. How about you and the eagle?”
“I didn’t get anything. I was so irritated about the cage the eagle had to live in that I didn’t sense any kind of message. Even so, it felt good connecting and merging my awareness with it.”
It was good practice for what was to come.
Copyright © 2013 Richard Juarez
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