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Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
Blogs about inhabiting this present moment

Being an Outstanding Steward of Life Itself What We Can Learn From Animals

Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Updated: May 13th 2013

"My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog already thinks I am."
—Author Unknown

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
—Author Unknown

dog and kittenUndoubtedly it is our excesses, and not necessarily our deficiencies, which help create our ill health and pain, dissatisfaction and unhappiness. This results in less health, pleasure, fulfillment and zesty, juicy living. When we honestly decide and commit in actions to release and buy out of excesses, our blockages to well being dissolve like fog meeting bright sunlight. Is being a good animal in taking care of our daily needs as mammals and human beings so difficult? Bears, deer, rabbits, mice, dogs and cats know how to do this far better than we apparently do. When shall we humans? It is essential to life, if nothing else is. What exactly does it take to be a "good animal" for us humans?

In the wild animals know to eat when they are hungry and eat only foods that are good for them, and show little if any interest in foods not good for them. An animal would no longer eat according to what the clock says, advertisements sell or because other animals want them to than they would dance the waltz. In the wild animals know to not eat more or carry any more weight than what best serves them for meeting their bodily needs and self-preservation. To do otherwise would risk their survival, which they simply will not do.

Animals drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated. This aids their digestion functioning normally, the clearing of toxins and general well being. Animals know to get plenty of exercise and healthy physical activity in daily survival and living. It's critical to their survival, breeding and staying well. Animals know to answer the call of nature. When they've got to go, they go, wherever they may be so long as they won't get eaten. No if's, and's, but's, maybe's or perhap's about it.

Animals know better than to do their business upstream from where they drink. Animals aren't stupid. Most animals travel in social groups for protection, procreation, social support, intimacy and companionship. Mating is often for life with great care given the raising, nurturance and safety of their young. Animals know to keep their nest and environment naturally clean, replenished and in good order. Animals know better than to fowl where they live. They would no longer get in-between another animal and its young, or a hungry animal and its food, than go to the moon.

Animals know to rest when they are tired, sleep when their body informs them to get their sleep and pace themselves well. Animals listen and decode the messages from their body and would no longer fight their body by denying themselves sleep and over-doing or under-doing than they would defy nature itself. Animals know to appropriately plan for leaner times. Animals regularly store up food supplies in anticipation of a cold winter with meager food available. Animals have instinct, which demands it be done.

Animals know to detect danger, leave immediately and use any means necessary to protect themselves and their young. Animals know better than to be around other animals that are their natural predators or to be in environments they simply do not belong. Animals in the wild know how to live in the present and, in fact, seem incapable of living in any other way! Most animals know all this and more driven by instinct. As humans can over-ride instincts by using their ego-minds, how can we be as wise as beasts?


Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.

Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. is a seasoned clinician in private practice in Pleasanton, CA in the East San Francisco Bay area. Licensed as a psychologist in California since 1987 and in the field since 1976, he specializes in Presence-centered therapy principally with adults and couples. Presence-centered therapy is a conscious attuning to the richness of this present moment (sometimes called mindfulness or wakefulness) along with witnessing, that is, observing what the mind is up to now by looking from outside of it. His practice is centered upon inhabiting this present moment, witnessing and "buying out" of the ego-mind's unworkable patterns, desensitizing root emotional charges, and gaining effective tools to thrive in the world. He specializes in providing therapy for adults facing anxiety, significant stress, work issues, relationship challenges and depression as well as couples with marital issues, communication issues, self-defeating behavior, divorce mediation, co-parenting and pre-marital counseling. Core to his approach is installing, building and developing strong internal resources, an enhanced capacity to hold, bear and tolerate strong emotions, and highly adaptive tools to better thrive in the world.He can be reached directly through his website (featuring over 215 articles, 27 YouTube videos and pages upon pages of highly practical annotated resource links) or by email at . Dr. Friedman is available for business consulting, business training and executive coaching (detail on his home page).

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