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Community: The Deeper Thread of Connection

with Dawn Baumann Brunke

Ngorongoro Crater, located in northern Tanzania, is one of the largest calderas in the world. What's a caldera? Basically, it's like a big bowl or deep cauldron in the earth, formed when a giant volcano explodes and then collapses back on itself. In the case of Ngorongoro, this happened some two to three million years ago. The crater is now about 2,000 feet deep and its floor covers over 100 square miles.

One of the things that makes Ngorongoro so interesting is that its steep sides have formed a natural enclosure for an incredibly wide variety of wildlife. The crater is home to the wildebeest, gazelle, eland, reedbuck, hartebeest, zebra, lion, leopard, elephant, water buffalo, hippopotamus, jackal, spotted hyena, the rare black rhino and so many, many more. So, too, do the animals share their land with local Maasai tribes, who sometimes graze and tend their cattle within the crater. While some migrating animals are able to enter the crater from outside, not many do. It is in this respect that Ngorongoro animals are unique, for they have formed a special type of community.

Many years ago, while working on my second book (Awakening to Animal Voices), I asked to connect with a group of animals who might want to share their insights and teachings with humans, especially humans who desire to connect with nature, animals, the planet and themselves in a deeper and more profound manner. The group of animals who answered was from, of all places, the Ngorongoro Crater. I was surprised because although I had visited the crater several years before, I had not then known much about animal communication and had not communicated with any of the animals there. Of course I was delighted to hear from this group and touched, too, for their answer revealed to me how deeply we are connected with all beings, even if we are not conscious of it at the time.

Here, then, is part of the wisdom that this group of animals so graciously shared. To me, it speaks to the heart of community. For, as the Ngorongoro animals note, it is by respecting, learning from, and celebrating diversity in any community that allows us to live in greater harmony—not only with all others, but also within ourselves and with our continually evolving planet.

We are the animals of the African Landscape, of Ngorongoro Crater. We come to you now as a group, a large gathering of animals who work together, who live together; we are animals who gather together to live in a particular habitat with one another. We provide food for one another; we provide balance to one another. We gather together many different outlooks on life. We speak to the coming together of a larger, more beautiful pattern, because of our very co-existence on the same small parcel of land.

We have changed this land by our relationship with her. We each contribute an essential part to our little world here, and that is the wisdom we wish to pass on to other children of the planet, just as we pass this information on to our children, not so much with words as we are doing now, but by example. We are a living example of a group of beings living in a greater harmony.

This is our 'wisdom' not only for young humans but for all humans on the planet at this time. We each have our own grouping - zebra, hippo, rhino, lion, ostrich, and more - some of us come and some of us go. We move in relation to this parcel of land, and yet we are all committed to our role here, to our piece of the pattern which brings a balance and beauty to the whole living landscape.

We encourage our young to explore themselves and yet to see the greater pattern, the force of the life living through us all, and how this 'energy' flows through many different species to create an ongoing creative experience for all. We speak to respecting diversity yet feeling and living and enjoying our connection to the whole, to the underlying sense of unity of all. We encourage humans to feel this deeper thread of connection, too.

Our wish for humans is not to act too quickly, but to observe the patterns of what IS before they move to change things, or direct things based on their own ideas of what is right or wrong. We see this, though in a different way, with our young. Youth would always like to change the system and sometimes this is a positive force. But we also carry an older energy and so we - each older generation - hold a wisdom and our advice is to see deeply before you act.

Energy shifts of her own accord. To move with that natural shift is to move with a deeper appreciation of life. Our wish is to feel deeply to the life living through you before you begin to act on changing life yourself. This is an older and deeper wisdom. It is our gift to you.

Thank you for asking our opinions.
The Animal People of Ngorongoro Crater.

Dawn Baumann Brunke is the author of Animal Voices, Awakening to Animal Voices and the recently released Shapeshifting with our Animal Companions. Her books explore the deeper nature of our relationship with animals, nature, each other and ourselves. For more, see Dawn's website.

Be sure to read the reviews of her book "Awakening to Animal Voices" in our May 2005 Issue and her book "Animal Voices" January 2006 Issue.

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