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"To Learn From Animal Being", by John O'Donohue

Updated: Mar 1

I recently read a phrase by Pierre Alais, yoga teacher, and student of Shivananda & T.K.V. Desikachar, a phrase that stayed with me:

"Nous ne défendons pas la Nature, Nous sommes la Nature qui se défend"

(We do not defend Nature, we are Nature that defends itself)


Mary Paffard, one of my teachers, has a whole workshop dedicated to see our body as part of Nature.

Today, on a similar subject, my inspiration comes from this poem by John O'Donohue.



To Learn From Animal Being

by John O'Donohue

Nearer to the earth's heart, Deeper within its silence: Animals know this world In a way we never will.

We who are ever Distanced and distracted By the parade of bright Windows thought opens: Their seamless presence Is not fractured thus.

Stranded between time Gone and time emerging, We manage seldom To be where we are: Whereas they are always Looking out from The here and now.

May we learn to return And rest in the beauty Of animal being, Learn to lean low, Leave our locked minds, And with freed senses Feel the earth Breathing with us.

May we enter Into lightness of spirit, And slip frequently into The feel of the wild.

Let the clear silence Of our animal being Cleanse our hearts Of corrosive words.

May we learn to walk Upon the earth With all their confidence And clear-eyed stillness So that our minds

Might be baptized In the name of the wind And the light and the rain.

~ John O'Donohue From: To Bless the Space Between Us


More poems by John O'Donohue:

For The Interim Time

For Loneliness

For Belonging

For Solitude

A Morning Offering

Beannacht

Cassin's kingbird. Purisima de Chamacuero, during the Mexico Viniyoga Retreat

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