Updated: Oct 1
A cow is a very gentle and peaceful creature, who lives outdoors. As a herbivore, it does not need to harm other animals and so is therefore very accepting of them and non-threatening for them to be around. Young cows are also very playful. Cow’s live very much in the moment from day to day. They can live up to 22 years, but sadly are often sold to the meat industry between the ages of 2 and 6 years old.
The lessons we can learn from a cow are to live in the moment, be accepting of others and to enjoy life – you never know how long you’ve got.
Live In The Moment
Have you ever watched a cow in a field and considered how peaceful they seem? Like many animals, cows are very happy to live in the moment and just ‘be.’ Often seen to be standing and watching the world go by, or slowly grazing on grass, cows take in their surroundings and experiences and simply enjoy them.
Being in the moment is more commonly known as ‘mindfulness.’ It’s the stage when your mind is less busy, so you are not getting upset or disturbed by past thoughts and memories, or worried and anxious about the ‘what ifs’ of the future. Instead, you are focusing on a time where your mind can be at peace – the here and now.
There are many benefits to practising mindfulness (see ‘The Benefits of Mindfulness’), including the ability to quickly identify and regulate your emotions, improved focus and health benefits including reduced blood pressure and better sleep. One of the biggest benefits to mindfulness is that when you are ‘in the moment’ you are happy.
What’s more it’s easy to put yourself in the moment by simply focussing on your senses – what can you hear, see, smell, feel or taste at that precise time. Try it when you next go for a walk. When you notice the bird song, you will be aware of what is happening in that exact moment.
Often cows only live for up to 6 years, which serves as a reminder that on a larger scale, we are all only here for a relatively short time. Despite that, cows often seem to find peace by watching the world go by.
No matter how many years you live to, life is short. Several years ago, whilst undergoing a course of chemotherapy for cancer, I was talking to the chemotherapy nurse about my upcoming birthday. Her words have forever stuck in my mind:
“Age is a privilege, not a right.”
This is so true. Whilst having a diagnosis of cancer and managing the ill effects of the subsequent treatment was not the most pleasant experience in the world, it did bless me with the insight into how short life is, and how much there was still to experience and enjoy. This was a life changing experience for me and I consider myself blessed to have had that insight and to recover in order to act upon it.
It is so easy to get tied up in the matrix of everyday life, that sometimes we forget to make the most of the time we have and to simply enjoy it.
Ask yourself what do you enjoy doing? How much time do you allow yourself to do it? Where would you love to go and what would you love to see? What’s stopping you? When all is said and done, life can pass in the blink of an eye and time is a promise to no-one, so make time now to enjoy the life you have.
Be Accepting of Others
Cows are very gentle creatures, who are very accepting of others. As Herbivores, they have no need to harm or threaten other animals, and as such they are very peaceful and accepting of other creatures, such as wandering deer or many birds that may enter their field.
Judgements often come when one feels threatened by other people. Maybe in some way they mirror an issue that is going on inside them e.g. a behaviour or habit they dislike about themselves, or they trigger a negative memory or emotion in themselves. This is the same for all people, whether they are judging you, or you are judging them. The next time you find yourself disliking or judging someone, ask yourself why and explore your own feelings around this. You can then make peace with the feeling and release the judgement. By practicing this activity, along with mindfulness, you will become less judgemental and more at peace with yourself too.
By losing the need to judge yourself and others you will feel much happier within yourself and more at peace with the people and environment around you.
Peace and Harmony
The above three lessons that we have learned from the cow can lead you to a peaceful and harmonious life. By practising mindfulness, you can let go of negative memories and worries, by letting go of judgement of yourself and others, you will feel more inner peace and by making time to enjoy life, you will feel more fulfilled and in balance with where you need to be.
Did you know that you can teach all the above skills to children, from a young age? Llama Meditation Emotional Wellbeing and Empowerment Course for Kids, amongst lots of other things, teaches children empathy, mindfulness, meditation and the ability to love and accept themselves and others. You can find out more at https://llama-meditation.teachable.com/p/llama-meditation