Susan and Pimpernel the CoyotePhoto by Earthfire Institute

— By Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —

In many ways, we are creatures of habit. We are also shaped by cultural influences, the family, the times we are born into, and social pressures as to what is “normal.” Without realizing it, our brains are shaped by the pressures and examples we grow up with. And unless we are lucky, we are turned away from our own intuitive experiences. It becomes difficult to develop a true aspect of ourselves that is the source of our own ideas, intelligence, and intuition.

We are in a transition time now between the older 20th century understanding of how the universe works—in which our sense of “reality” is the only one—and the quantum version of how the universe works, which is on multiple levels of what we call reality. This transition, plus social pressures, can be very confusing and can cause us to doubt our own intuitive knowledge.

This second phase of our Reconnection Ecology year is about learning to explore and trust our so-called “mystical” experiences with wildlife. Because there is so much social pressure to deny the deeper meaning of these unforgettable moments, it is really important that we support one another without fear of being called crazy, impractical, or other not-so-nice labels that are intended to shear us away from our natural insights. Another force against trusting our intuition is the fact that our culture (and our brains) are wired to attend to the dramatic. It takes both quiet time and time in nature to be able to attend to our own self knowledge and the sea of subtle energy and information we are immersed in.

This month, Ann shares such a story—one that doesn’t fit the cultural understanding of reality—about what happens when we ignore our intuitions and how helpful it can be when we attend to them. Living with the animals of Earthfire over their lifetimes, I have seen many things that cannot be explained by the usual definition of reality—but even more so, many of us have had experiences with our own beloved pets that cannot be explained by the still dominant scientific paradigm.

Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.

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