Wisdom is reasoning with the Foxes. – unknown
We live in a time when there is an enormous amount of information available to us but not a lot of wisdom. Wisdom travels beneath the surface of things, is usually passed down through stories and can be quite slippery at times. Yet, if we have any hope for catching a glimpse of our authentic self, that soul self that guides us to purposeful living, then somewhere along the way, we have to make an appointment with Wisdom, herself, and listen. Or, we might just ask the foxes.
Reasoning with the foxes is a great place to start. One can learn a great deal from observing foxes and the way they hunt for prey beneath the surface of things. This fox has a technique of hunting in the snow in which he must get very, very quiet and listen for the smallest of movements.
Not only that, scientists have discovered as told in this article from Discover magazine, that the fox uses the earth’s magnetic field as a kind of “rangefinder,” pinpointing a north easterly direction. When he is pointed in the right direction, the fox catches its prey 73% of the time, otherwise, the odds are around 18%. Just like this fox, if we want to find our purpose in this life, we also must be pointed in the right direction and be willing to take the leaps and accept and learn from the failures that occur along the way. It takes a good portion of our lives for most of us to get ourselves pointed in the right direction and a great deal of grit and surrender to keep trying.
How do we know when we are pointing in the right direction? Like the fox, we must become very quiet and listen to what is going on beneath the surface of our busy lives, we listen for the sound of what is moving within. We use the region of our heart to guide us, just as the fox uses the earth’s magnetic field to position ourselves in our true direction.
I often think it would be so much easier if we could just take a stethoscope and hear what our hearts are saying, but this is a different kind of listening, we are learning to observe with our spiritual senses. As we do, we become re-grounded to our roots, to the ground of our being, our spiritual life within, through slowing down our breathing and breathing deeply. We begin our meditation with a focused prayer. We listen to the field of our hearts to hone in on our spiritual purpose for being in this world. We focus on God alone, which is focusing on the deep reserves of love moving within us, some call this a Higher Power.
We can trust that God’s purpose is hidden deeply in our hearts, waiting for the right time to emerge in our lives, waiting for us to get pointed in the right direction and open our hearts to the Divine will. Just like the subtle sounds of vibrations moving beneath the heavy snow, Wisdom will guide us as we become more and more willing to surrender our own will to what is moving deeply within us, the Creator. We may make many nose-dives beneath the surface before we come up with anything that resembles a direction, but we keep practicing, trusting Wisdom to guide us to our true north.
In my tradition, centering prayer is a very effective tool for listening for the heart to speak, for God’s will to be made known more clearly than all the other competing noises. Once we are pointed towards this, we continue to ground ourselves in that alignment. We learn what it feels like, what our breath sounds like in these moments where we feel re-grounded, and we seek this out again, each day until it becomes a practice. Over time, we begin to experience the world through the senses of our hearts.
There are many centering prayers available online, some really beautiful ones from the Native American traditions as well. Here is one of my favorite centering prayers from St. Teresa of Avila:
“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing make you afraid. All things are passing. God alone never changes. Patience gains all things. If you have God, you will want for nothing. God alone suffices.”