- Jennifer Hadley - https://jenniferhadley.com -

Lions & Tigers & Bears!

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 [1] 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 [2] 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 [3].  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 [4], 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 [5], won’t you please share at facebook and twitter to let others know?  Thank you!