A Sunday Chat with Myself—Opposition in life

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness”  —Genesis 1: 3-4

Right from the beginning, our Creator—”God”—made it plain that His third dimensional (third density ) created universe we live in at present had to have its opposites in order to manifest. Light-dark; cold-heat; good-bad; love-hate. Can we comprehend joy without knowing what it’s like to have felt glume?

I firmly believe that there is an Intelligent Mind behind all this sophisticated, complicated universe. Only intelligence can create: unintelligence—ignorance—cannot create; it can only destroy, because it’s the opposite of intelligence that can and does create!

I also  believe that, among God’s other creations, He created us—humankind—loved us very dearly, and wanted us to grow up and be gods in our own right. To accomplish this, Intelligence had to create a ‘school’ for us to learn in. Then, we—our souls— had to ‘fall’ from the higher densities that we originally lived in,  to live in this lower, third density, so that we could experience ‘good’ from ‘evil,’ and eventually grow into being gods ourselves.

By the way, this ‘school’ we’re in was created complete in every detail: water, land, sea animals, land animals—everything—before we were finally allowed to ‘attend’—born—into our school, not much different than a modern, earthly school division would first lay out the plans and needs for the students, then build that school according to those specifications before admitting a single student into its classrooms.

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” —Genesis 1:31

The so-called “fall” that we took from the higher realms was a choice—a gift from our Father to His children that we were free to accept.  Our brand new school would be a tool so that we could learn the destined “good from evil.”

Few men and women that I know of who have reached their greatness in the world have reached it without having first suffered their share of setbacks. To some, their birth into poverty and low status was their springboard to riches and fame.  To others, personal sickness, or the death of a close family member may have been the springboard that made them become outstanding doctors in the field in which they had experienced that earlier emotional or physical setback.

It takes dedication and determination to earn a college degree. Partying all night, skipping classes and general irresponsibility will not get me that degree that I would like to have! Glancing around, I see where irresponsibility has had a negative effect on a former college classmate: I can learn from his mistakes; I am free to choose a better path for myself. God has given me that choice in my continuing spiritual development! And, in that understanding of choice, He has shown me the responsibility that each choice carries with it. I can continue to destroy myself, or I can reach for the stars!

Children do not always appreciate what parents do for them. It takes patience, long-suffering and love to raise a child; the opposite of impatience, intolerance and indifference. And yet, without understanding impatience, intolerance and indifference, I would not be able to exercise my will and devote myself to raising my children to be responsible adults. and to understand, I must know the difference between ignorance and intelligence: good from evil.

I may be working at a mundane job that involves a lot of physical routine. I get an idea: I know a way improve on this physical routine and make the job completion faster, and less boring. Should I keep the idea to myself, thinking that, why should I tell my boss about it? He probably wouldn’t appreciate the idea anyway? Or should I explain the idea to my boss and, even if he wouldn’t appreciate the improvement—forget about a possible raise, explain the idea? The choice is mine. God has given me the freedom to make a choice—a chance to grow, spiritually—a gift that He has not bestowed on many other of His earthly creatures!

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”   — Albert Einstein

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Magpies and a Falcon

The art of self-defence is not an invention of man. Self-preservation and of the species is inherent in all living creatures.

I recently wrote about an incident that I experienced between  two Magpies and how they were ‘torturing’ one of our house cats. Here’s another one involving Magpies, but this time it wasn’t a house cat, but a Falcon. I never cease to be amazed at the creative intelligence of Magpies. When God was handing out ‘smarts,’ Magpies obviously were at the front of the line!

During the summer months, I have two bird feeders, a bird bath and a suet dispenser for my “community of birds” that visit my back yard quite regularly. Because of these “feeder attractions,” my back yard is usually alive with the busy chatter of a variety of birds, ranging anywhere from the tiny Hummingbird to the majestic Black Crow, and it’s a real joy to sit there, relaxing on my patio, and listen to this “neighborhood chatter.” However, this particular morning when I went out, all was silent, and this silence immediately attracted my attention.

Not only was there silence  but I couldn’t see any of my usual “customers” at the bird feeders. I stood motionless and just observed. What could be the cause of this silence?

Then I saw it. A Falcon had quietly perched itself in an open  area on our fence. It sat still,  only its head slowly turning as its eyes searched for a hidden bird that it could swoop down on and take away for its next meal.

On another section of the fence, a respectable distance from the Falcon, perched a lone Magpie, also very quiet and not moving even a feather. Although I couldn’t hear it with my human ears, I could sense that the Magpie was sending out an alarm to its fellow Magpies that a dangerous intruder was present!

I don’t think I waited five minutes before a swarm of at least a dozen Magpies seemed to appear as if out of nowhere and started a planned, patterned “dive-bombing” of that Falcon. At first, the Falcon stood its ground. In fact, it even made a few feeble tempts to strike out and catch a swooping Magpie, but these Magpie were too practiced—too skilled at their offensive maneuvers and the Falcon’s feeble attempt to snag a Magpie failed every time. These Magpies knew exactly what they were doing: they were professionals! And the battle soon became one-sided  with the Falcon departing in a humiliated flutter of frustration!

With the Falcon gone, it didn’t take long for my back yard to again return to its bustling, noisy, chattering and chirping self!

Their strategy worked. The Magpies proved again that there is power in numbers!

You cannot expect victory and plan for defeat.”  —Joel Osteen

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Stray dogs show up at funeral

“I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contained. I stand and look at them long and long.” —Walt Whitman

I understand Walt Whitman in his praise for animals. I grew up on a farm, so have been around animals and birds—and nature, generally,  all my life. This is an amazing world filled with wonder and beauty. 

Memory

We humans think we’re unique in being able to remember what happens in our lives, but that’s not accurate. Not only can animals remember the happenings around them, but they are quite capable of showing appreciation for kindness offered them.

In our everyday world with our pets we hardly notice the ways they show appreciation, but watch them closely, and you’ll discover a different world. Did you ever notice how tolerant a lapdog is when its human “mother” dresses him up in some “cute” costume, or how protective a dog is of its adopted family’s children? It’s not at all, like they only want to dine on your love for them; they’re quite prepared to return the favor. Take, for example,  the appreciation some stray dogs displayed at the funeral of Margarita Suarez in Yucatan, Mexico.

Margarita had been an animal lover all her life and would take a bag of food along with her whenever she went somewhere and would feed any strays she encountered along the way.

When several of these stray dogs suddenly came to attend Margarita’s funeral, staff at the funeral home soon realized that these dogs weren’t there by accident but had come to pay their final respects to the person who had showed them love when others had abandoned them.

Margarita’s daughter, Patricia, said that the dogs “formed a procession behind the hearse and then returned to the funeral home,” and never left until Margarita was being prepared for cremation.

“All dogs go to heaven because, unlike people, dogs are naturally good and loyal and kind.”  —Whippet Angel

Amazing Intelligence in Animals (some animal facts)

“Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care can we help. Only if we help can they be saved!” — Jane Goodall

Looking at the diversity of Nature, I wonder. Just because we have speech and animals don’t, does that make us superior to them? Vanity would like to think so! We may have speech, but other animals have far better–unique—communication skills that we can only dream of. For example, we need our cell phones to talk to someone more than a few hundred meters from us. Using sound signals, wales can communicate—remember, we’re talking about communication skills— with each other over a distance of many miles. Using these same sound skills, they can even identify objects in the water at great distances. We need binoculars to come even close to what they can do!

A cat’s field of vision is 200 degrees; human’s field of vision is only 180 degrees, plus a cat can see 6 to 8 times better at night than humans can.

A camel’s hump is mainly stored fat. During winter months in the Sahara Desert, camels can use that stored fat to go without water for up to six months! Humans can only go three to five days without water.

Bears can smell food from 29 kilometers away, while humans can only smell a strong odor, like skunk spray, for no more than 2.5 kilometres away (phew!).Bees are those tiny winged little insects I love to talk about and advocate for. Our overuse of pesticides is rapidly destroying their habitat, and governments are so reluctant to do anything about it, but did you know, that if our thoughtless greed eradicates that humble little bee, within a very few years, mankind would be in dire straights for a food source: bees pollinate the flowers that bear the fruit, berries, grains and vegetables that we eat. Also, did you know that bees can find the most efficient route between flowers and their home-hive faster than a supercomputer can.

Have you ever gone to your doctor and s/he told you, you need more sleep? If you have, be glad that you’re not a giraffe and can sleep more. A giraffe sleeps for only about 20 minutes a day. Humans need lots of sleep.

Makes me wonder. Do animals often feel themselves superior to humans?

It makes me sad when I see so many people abuse animals, and nature in general. As Theodor W. Adorno said, “Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterouse and thinks: they’re only animals.” 

Amazing intelligence in animals—Elephants journey to pay their respects


This short story was first published in the Temple City Star on 22 February, 2018

“Perhaps measuring animal intelligence by comparing it to human intelligence isn’t the best litmus test” — Ingrid Newkirk

We’ve learned, even as children, that elephants are supposed to have a good memory, but that’s not the only attribute they possess. Elephants are also very respectful, and they can show gratitude for kindness offered them.

For example, Lawrence Anthony, born 17 September, 1950 in Johannesburg, is a legend in Africa. Author of three books, he’s also known as The Elephant Whisperer because of his many charitable deeds in rescuing animals, including elephants. Although no elephants were involved in this particular rescue, he played an influential role in the rescue of the Baghdad Zoo animals during the United State’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Anthony died on March 7th, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Now for the interesting part! The African elephants sensed Anthony’s passing, so two days after his death, led by two large matriarchs, a total of 31 elephants patiently, solemnly, walked slowly, reverently, in single file, over 12 hours, to get to his house to pay their respects. They stayed 2 days and 2 nights without eating (fasting), then made their long journey back to their home territories.

Yes, Virginia, “Something in the universe is greater and deeper than what we’re superficially led to believe!”

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—the Crafty Crow

“God loved birds so he invented trees. Man loved birds and invented cages.” — Jacques Deval

This story was first published in my column in the Temple City Star, 10th of August, 2017

♥♥

Most everyone that I’ve talked to can tell me at least one story of how smart dogs are and the intelligence that they display. But, do you know that birds are also very intelligent, especially the crow?

Crows are crafty little critters, ask anyone who’s tried to catch one or shoo it away from a fruit tree. A crow’s brain is about the size of a human thumb, putting it on relative par with primates.

A PBS series “Nature” showed an experiment where a crow figured out how to use a small stick to retrieve a larger stick, then use that larger stick to get at some food that had been placed out of its reach. Crows can also recognize individual people that are important to its survival, and can distinguish between who’s a danger or a friend to them.

Crows are born with tool-making abilities, and hone that ability by watching their elders, a sign of higher intelligence.

A lady in Seattle, Washington reported that her backyard crows have left over 70 trinkets in her bird feeder, including ear rings, a heart and “best friend” charm, all with an enticing reminder to “keep the food coming, lady.!”

If God created it, love it!

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Tom, the Virginia’ Vet Association’s pet

 

Intelligence will never stop being beautiful

I first published this short article in the Temple City Star on 18th of January, 2018

Dogs aren’t the only animals that serve men in the military. Cats, also, play a role. Tom—yes, that’s what the vets have named him, “… is a tomcat that’s established himself as the facility’s feline therapist” in the Salem, Virginia’s Veterans Association Medical Center.

“[Tom] arrived after some hospital staff read a book called “Making Rounds with Oscar”, by Dr. David Dosa, a physician who treated patients with medicine and with his therapy cat, Oscar. They (Salem VA hospital) knew they needed a cat just like Oscar, so they adopted Tom.” Writes I-lovecats.com.

Because some visitors aren’t exactly friendly to cats, the hospital has a “No Pet” zone, but Tom doesn’t mind. He makes friends easily, so more and more non-cat lovers are relenting and starting to pet him and bring him treats. There are some heartwarming tales written about the many ways Tom has helped long-term veterans deal with life, and Sharon Herndon, whose late father was a vet in this hospital, even wrote a book about him, titled, “Tom the Angel Cat.” She wrote, “Tom is the final salute to a job well done. He’s serving our country’s heroes by acting as one himself.”

Isn’t it nice when we treat animals as companions in our world we live in, rather than  treating them as a nuisance.

“Intelligence is the ability of a species to live in harmony with its environment.” — Paul Watson

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Cleo the Cat

 

Cat reunites with nursing home elderly

This story was first published in the Cardston Temple City Star on 30th November, 2017

 

Cleo, the cat, certainly proved that he was not your average adoptee, and that he loved his owner, Nancy Cowen, more than anything else in his life.

Nancy and Cleo were the best of friends for eight years, but Nancy’s health started failing, so she was forced to move into the Bramley House nursing home in Westcott, Dorking, in the UK. Unfortunately, the nursing home—at the time! —had a no pet rule, so Cleo was reluctantly adopted out to the neighbors. But Cleo had other plans. He missed Nancy, and he was going to have no part of that separation! Two weeks after Nancy moved, that furry fella showed up on the Bramley House doorstep. At first, no one payed attention to the cat. Thinking it was just another stray, they just fed it while it spent its nights under the benches placed around the home for its residents to enjoy.

Then, Nancy’s sister came by to visit and spotted Cleo.  Long story short, arrangements were made with the nursing home to allow Nancy and Cleo to be happily united again.

The puzzling question is, how did Cleo know where Nancy had moved to? Do the bonds of love extend beyond material boundaries?