Predator, Prey or Play
It’s a dog eat dog world out there
Characterized by the aggressive predator and vulnerable prey
But are predators always aggressive? … or are they sometimes simply hungry
Is prey really that passive? … often they put up a successful fight back
Both predator and prey use cunning and clever tactics to get what they want
So is it really a dog eat dog world?
How does it feel to approach life in this way…. what images flash through your mind?
That it’s better to go into predator mode
- Easier to attack first then to be attacked?
- Yell, pound your chest, bark orders … don’t let them see your vulnerability?
- Better to provoke, ridicule, judge, criticize …
Or jump into prey-mode, embracing the eternal victim
- Run away, not even try
- Live in fear & tremble
- Be meek, small, insignificant
- Keep your head down & hide
Rumi wrote about another way:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
There are many interpretations of this poem, but I feel Rumi is referring to playfulness
Play eliminates the artificial divisions
The judgments, arbitrary divisions that we draw between us
And dichotomous roles we choose to play
Of predator and prey
Playfulness melts those boundaries away
Play helps create a new reality…
Stuart Brown, MD writes in his book ‘Play’, when we play there is diminished sense of self, an openness to improvisation, a desire to keep the process going and time seems to fly by.
It’s so easy to get caught in our rational minds telling us that that’s not how the world functions…
However, we are surrounded by examples that show us another way
We live in a world where
- A snake and a hamster can be best friends
- A cat and a fawn enjoy playdates
- A goose can fall in love with a man
They met at that place beyond prey and predator called play
Acting instead out of curiosity, inquisitiveness and joyful exuberance
And their adverse relationship was suddenly transformed…. to friendship
Next time you are caught up in a predator or prey reaction, pause, take a deep breath, relax & remember, there is another way
To read more about animal friendships see: Unlikely Friendships: Remarkable stories from the animal kingdom by Jennifer Holland