Imagine for a moment that you are a wild rabbit.
Suddenly, you are very small. How your body takes up space, how other objects appear around you, your perspective, shifts. You are much more aware of your physical location in the world than a rabbit might be, since a rabbit lives with it every day, and you are just visiting.
Your body feels differently, how you inhabit your legs, your tail, your ears. Because it is new to you, each molecule feels alive. You smell something and your nose wriggles, and you are acutely aware of the muscles moving.
Your sense of smell is heightened. Scents you might not have noticed in your human body have become much more powerful in your rabbit body. They mean something, these smells, but being new to being a rabbit, you don’t know what they mean, you don’t know how to label them, you just know that they are different from each other, unique to themselves.
Along with smells, your sense of taste changes. You recognize that the rabbit you have become has something in its mouth. You’re not sure what it is but, as you move the saliva around, you taste it quite intently. You don’t have words for the taste, and that’s ok: you don’t need them.
The way that you touch things or are touched by things changes. The temperature on the pads of your rabbit feet or on your ears, sensitive things. The pine needles under your feet, the warmth or the cool radiating from the ground, reflecting back from your body, like a tiny wave, your body heat, ground, back to your belly.
Your sense of time shifts. As the rabbit, you are not worried about what time you need to get somewhere. You aren’t thinking about how long you’ve been there. You’ve been there as long as you need to be there and you’ll go when you go. It isn’t about you.
This feeling of observing what it is like, being a rabbit, is something I’m trying to cultivate as I meditate. Not specifically being a rabbit, but being less of myself, less of the person who writes a blog and works and is in a relationship and has a perspective on life and politics and has a mother and father, both in hospice this year, and nieces and nephews and in-laws, and aspirations and hopes and dreams and obligations and intentions.
And more just experiencing what is like to have a physical body that takes up space on a couch, in a space that would be mostly the same even if my body were in a different room. Listening to sounds outside my window that be the same, even if I weren’t here to hear them. Feeling breezes that would blow and temperature shifts that would occur even if I weren’t here to feel them. Sensing the light changing around me as the sun comes up, as it does every day even if I am not here to see it. Feeling my heart beat and my belly expand and contract, just as they do even if my mind is elsewhere.
Letting go of the narrative, of the overactive pre-frontal cortex, always trying to explain and label and describe and write stories and connect those stories to other stories, and plan and dream. Letting go of the amygdala, of the worry and fear and negative stories.
Letting go of imagination and just pausing to experience the world for a few minutes in repose, as if I had found myself temporarily a rabbit and could let go of myself and just observe reality as it is, without my overlay, knowing it will change from moment to moment.
And being ok with that.