….fourth in the series from DownUnder. Enjoy folks!!!
We had already driven for about an hour into the National Park before we picked up Kamatunda, our tracker and within fifteen minutes we said farewell to the truck and received our instructions from Tony our guide.
The four of us would walk in single file behind him so as to propose the smallest image when confronting lion, buffalo, or what we were tracking – white rhino. The white, or square lipped rhino weighs around three tones, can accelerate to 40kays from a standstill in 4 seconds and has a five centimetre hide which is like Kevlar. He has no natural predators and therefore feels a degree of ownership. His personal space is as large as he wants it to be.
Tony has seen one of these rhinos gore a fully grown male elephant because he stepped on the grass. If they charge we are to stand perfectly still, make no motion whatsoever. We will feel adrenalin, our body will tell us to run, our heart will fill our mouth. We must not run. We will not outrun. We are not to go to Kamatunda, his gun is only to try and scare the charging rhino away from us. It will not kill the rhino.
I turned around but the truck had gone and I couldn’t quite remember what it was about this Rhino walk in that had sounded like a good idea.
We trekked for nearly two hours through the hot humid and totally natural bush, following footprints, bent grass (!), uprooted trees and overturned tanks until we found the single adult male over there in the open about 50 meters away. Tony started telling us that this was the one who had gored the elephant and overturned a tourist truck, but today he “seemed to be in a good mood.” So we walked around front to get closer.
I offered to take up a lookout position behind one of the large trees but Tony insisted that we had paid to get up close and we were going to.
The rhino was peacefully grazing on his short grass. Moving slowly we came around to his front so he could see us, standing on what looked like his grass, as we then allowed him to meander towards us. We allowed each other within about 20 meters, way too close for me, but he was amazing. He seemed as tall as me, his powerful armour body looked like granite, his huge head positioned twin horns that also looked about as tall as me. It was an amazing sight that I will never forget as Tony continued to tell us very quietly, about the Rhino herd and this guy in particular.
Males live alone and mark out their territory. Only very foolish or competitive other males come into contact with each other, and this was a theme that was continued wherever we went. Males get to a certain age and then their competitive instincts kick in – they fight and separate to live a life alone. Elephants, Buffalo, Rhino, Hippo, it seems that in the wild, animal nature for males is to compete.
Human nature doesn’t seem to be very different – from an early age young males begin to compete and we escalate this tendency as we mature.Our nature to compete is not limited to the physical arena, we compete on every front from financial prowess to story telling to our children’s achievements. Human nature isn’t so different from animal nature.
But our nature is more complex than simply human – we all possess a spirit nature as well, regardless of how underdeveloped that nature may be.
Our spirit nature is at ninety degrees to our human nature. For example there is absolutely no competition in our spirit nature. We have not been told about this. Very often we transfer our human nature to compete into our spiritual endeavours – we consider spiritual growth as a competition and try to mark our progress against each other.
Every human being is born with human nature – it is impossible to avoid it, and also every human being is born with a spirit nature but we generally avoid it completely because we are not taught about it.
Life from age two is totally devoted to understanding and growing our human nature and completely ignores our spirit nature. Most adults have no awareness of their spirit nature and so it is never develops or matures.
My human nature as a man is to compete. As a competitor I can never experience peace – my human nature is incapable of allowing me any peace at all because I am constantly comparing myself to others, constantly moving to overcome or defend, there is no escape.
I have worked hard to suppress my competitive nature – God gave me a big strong body and I look to the world like a strong man who wants to compete and indeed I do.My attempts at spiritual growth have taken me at right angles to my human nature and have taught me not to compete, and I try hard to not compete with anyone, especially men.
Recently I was with a (male) friend from years ago who hadn’t seen me for five years, and my attempts to be neutral were, I now understand, read by him as signals of superiority: I was trying hard not to compete with him with stories of personal success, family success, my children’s success but he read my passivity as arrogance. I apologise. My passivity caused him to escalate his competitiveness – every time he hit a winner I didn’t acknowledge it, like all men are supposed to do. Worse, I didn’t strike back. I am like so many (men) who are trying to become spiritually mature. Maybe we forget that our newfound lack of competition is completely misunderstood by other (men)? Speaking for myself I know that many of my male friends reading this – consider me to be a bit strange. I am now hoping to give you an explanation for my strangeness – I don’t compete with you because I want to honour you instead. I have no desire to better you.
The Pharisees and Sadducees said that Jesus was Baptising more people than John. His response? He got up and left.
Jesus did not compete. He did not try to correct their wrong information (it was not Jesus who baptised but his disciples). He simply left.
I apologise to my (male) friends whom I have left rather than compete with. I am trying my hardest to learn my spiritual nature and I find myself increasingly at odds with my human nature. I find my lips are less square.
May Peace be with you,
Click here for the rhino pictures sent by Michael.