How the Wolves Saved the Day

Dr. Manijeh Motaghy, Organizational Psychologist, UCLA Mindfulness Teacher, MLO Designer

I had been taking my students beyond Mindfulness and stress reduction for years. Most had started with the UCLA Mindfulness courses I had thought, and some continued going deeper and deeper. In 2018, when my class reported the findings of their research assignment, they all felt even kinder and more connected to the world and to their animal research subject, which they had disliked or feared for so long.

In order to expand their development in reducing their stress and anxieties, I had assigned asked them to take the one animal or insect they hated or feared and answer three questions:

1. What is the role of this creature in the world?

2. What would happen if this species was done with?

3. What ramifications would it have on our human lives?

Through this assignment, each student learned about their chosen creature’s contributions to the cultivation and thriving of the planet, and how every creature on Earth plays an important part in the food chain. We were astonished to learn how various animals clean up after themselves, clear the environment from natural waste like dead trees, and even assist in the decomposition of our dead bodies. Some of them, like rats, whom we ordinarily despise provide benefits we do not recognize to properly appreciate.

One student’s research argued that if rats didn’t exist, viruses that use rats as hosts could instead possibly use human bodies as their hosts, because we have similar biology to rats—and that could be catastrophic. Our discussions became around the benefits of understanding these things as a regular part of our lives, so we wouldn’t have to hate or fear rats when we see them, which is a form of anxiety we can resolve and avoid. Instead, we can humanely make sure our living space is free of them while still giving them some respect and compassion for the important role they play in this world.

Others realized that spiders and mosquitos and skunks and cockroaches were not just nuisances in our lives. These creatures and their ecosystems run the world for us. They manage food sources and what it takes to keep life going. They remove trash and consume what others leave behind and provide countless other benefits.

If you are interested to learn more on how to improve your life and be effective in stewarding our planet read my upcoming book:

It’s Not Easy to Be Human

A Guide to Optimize Inner Navigation Capabilities and Asset To Ensure Personal, Professional, and Planetary Success

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I would love to know your thoughts. Please leave your comments in the comment section.