[ Adapted from: Why Walk When You Can Fly, by Isha (New World Library, 2008). Isha Judd is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher and author. ]
Self-acceptance is inherent in all animals and can be best understood by observing nature. At Puerto Madryn in Argentina, for example, dozens of right whales come to breed in the calm waters surrounding the Valdes Peninsula. It is amazing to get close to such enormous creatures. They are the biggest animals in the world and surely among the most powerful, yet all they do is radiate love. It’s incredible. It’s all you can feel. They are pure peace, pure love, and yet they are so big. They look at you lazily through the shimmering water as if you’re some rare breed of insect, and then down they go again.
The whales come with their babies, and those babies drink two thousand liters of milk a day. So poor Mom spends most of her time nursing. All the baby wants to do is feed – he’d be happy to drink ten thousand liters of milk a day. When she gets tired of feeding him, she rolls over onto her back so he can’t reach her nipples. The baby starts slapping Mom with his tail in an attempt to make her roll over. It’s a relatively powerful thing to have a baby whale slapping you with its tail, but Mom just lies there in perfect peace. She lets him have his little temper tantrum and continues to rest, even when he’s getting annoyed. She doesn’t judge herself; she doesn’t think, I shouldn’t get tired so easily. I’m not giving enough to my children, poor things. Animals never judge themselves. To them everything is perfect.
When the mother has rested, she teaches the baby how to jump out of the water. When Mom jumps, it’s magnificent. It’s poetry in motion. When the baby tries to copy, he’s a disaster! He does big belly flops and isn’t impressive at all. But his mother doesn’t say,”Oh my God, you’re not doing it properly! You’re embarrassing me in front of the other whales! I mustn’t be a very good teacher…” No. She just keeps leaping, and he keeps practicing, until they are in perfect union, perfect synchrony.
Nature doesn’t judge. It’s pure love, pure being, perfectly in the moment because it’s not thinking all the time. Such is the nature of enlightenment.