I used to be afraid to be by myself alone at night. I used to be very frightened to stay overnight by myself. So much has changed!
I’m currently camping at the Peace  Village in Lincoln, Vermont, where I’ve camped about 9 times in the last 11 years, for as long as three weeks at a time. Many times, I’ve been the only person on the land and I feel perfectly safe.
Last night, I was working late, writing my blog and answering some e-mails, and I went off to bed in my tent. As I often do these days, I record the prayer right before I go to sleep and e-mail it to my wonderful assistant, Heidie, who prepares everything for the blog. I was recording and got to the announcements part when I heard what I absolutely knew was a bear coming through the woods, right towards my tent.
I almost unzipped the window so I could look out and see the bear, but that I didn’t wish to startle him/her. You’ll notice in the recording, my voice was getting softer as I heard the bear coming towards me, and then I decided to pause the recording and just be still. I wasn’t afraid, but I was definitely feeling cautious. Because I record the prayer on my phone, I used it to google, “bear nocturnal behavior,” and see what I could learn. LOL!!
Fortunately, what I read on the web confirmed what I felt, which is that bears in this area are only foraging for food and really prefer to avoid people. I could hear the bear rustling around my tent, and I had the light on, so the bear knew I was there. After about 15 minutes, I decided to simply go ahead and finish my recording. And then I went to bed, even though I knew the bear was right there. I fell right to sleep.
I am certain that my spiritual practice is the reason I wasn’t afraid. I could feel the bear’s intention  and it had nothing to do with me and no interest in me at all. I felt completely safe, as I usually do.
I’ve learned that to feel safe, be a safe space for others. Be a loving presence. Hold loving thoughts in your mind and be loving in your heart . An open and loving heart is the safest place to dwell.
There are so many benefits to having a living spiritual practice of compassion, generosity, Love, and kindness , and feeling safe everywhere you are is just one of them. This applies to encounters with people as well as bears!
If you’re finding what I’m sharing to be helpful , won’t you please share at facebook and twitter to let others know? Thank you!