Did you ever have a security blanket? Or maybe a favorite childhood toy you could turn to for comfort no matter how lousy you felt? Was there somewhere you could go to feel completely safe?
As a child, I always had something soft to hold or hug and feel comforted. For a while, it was a favorite blanket. After that, it was stuffed animals. And then, whenever I could, I turned to bunnies.
When I held or watched a bunny, even the most miserable day would fade away until all that existed in the world was that bunny. I imagine the feeling I got was akin to what many people experience when taking in the grandeur of nature – a beautiful, sweeping calm. For some reason, nature and I don’t always get along. So, for me – it’s bunnies.
For many years, my little sister had a bunny named Jazzy (a.k.a. Jazzy Bunny). Often, I would find myself feeling crowded or ignored in a house full of family members who all had similar interests that were worlds away from my own. I knew they loved me and meant well – it’s just that the majority opinion always won, and I was the minority. So, I would turn to Jazzy for like-minded company.
At the time, I thought of it as an escape. I would find a quiet space and hold Jazzy until I felt myself becoming calmer. Spending time with Jazzy was more fulfilling than dealing with crowds of people and listening to conversations that didn’t involve me. Whether I was holding and petting him or just watching him hop and twitch his little nose, something about those moments just felt right.
When I met the man who is now my husband, it didn’t take him long to see how important bunnies were to me. For our first Valentine’s Day, he took me to a local animal shelter and let me pick out my bunny Valentine gift. This, I believe, was the first moment I felt certain this was a man who understood me, cared deeply for me and wanted me to be happy.
For a while, I had a beautiful, fuzzy little blood pressure-reducing companion named Lloyd. I spent hours and hours watching him flop, hop and binky. I delighted in holding him, watching him explore, feeling him nudge my hand to demand more pets and listening to the munching noises he made while he ate.
Years later, I realized something about all those wonderful bunny-watching moments. I felt calm in those moments not because I had escaped from the world but because I had experienced each moment mindfully. I was living in the present, taking in every blink, sniff and ear twitch of the bunny life – satisfied to be exactly where I was.
Most of the time, it is difficult for me to become absorbed in the present moment. But when it comes to bunnies, it’s the most natural thing in the world.
There’s a familiar Zen proverb that says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I have found this to be true for me on many occasions and in many ways. And, on at least two of those occasions, my teacher was a bunny.
A true teacher helps you to see the bunny inside yourself.
— Bunny Buddhism (@bunnybuddhism) April 9, 2012
Has a bunny touched your life? Has a teacher come into your life in unexpected form? I would love to hear your story!