The necessary essence of the true zoo is love. The true zoo is sacred. It must invoke and allow for the magic that causes people to participate in conditional reality in the sacred sense, or in the sense of love, in the sense of self-transcendence, of ecstasy.
True zoos should permit and invite self-transcendence. The true zoo is not merely the product of an idea, which is then to be passively admired, or observed, by others. Participation in a zoo should be a great exercise that enables one to transcend oneself. If it does not serve that purpose, then it has missed its potential. The true zoo has a unique purpose for others, both human and non-human.
The true zoo is not about being removed from the non-humans one encounters there, only standing back to look and wonder.
Such is the method of separation. True participation with the non-humans results when the visitor combines himself or herself completely—mentally, emotionally, psychically, spiritually—with them.
The Vision of Fear-No-More is the art of heart-participation, heart-activity, with all beings. It is artful intelligent participation made of feeling, rather than of a perception or a conception merely. The total field of feeling—perceptually located, ecstatically Realized—is the potential of the true zoo.
Zoos should not be made into secular institutions merely, into ego-business. They should not be divorced from their right principle. This modern secular materialistic age is all about being divorced from the right principles of life, and of everything altogether.
This time is about being sunk in separateness and ego-possession and struggling and seeking. It is profound suffering, and it is infecting everyone.
Therefore, among all the things to be transformed by the embrace of right and sacred principles are our relationships with all non-humans.
True zoos serve this purpose, and in so doing the true zoological sanctuary is a useful part of life here especially when so many humans today live so far from natural areas and natural things.
The function of the true zoo is to draw the viewer sympathetically into Divine contemplation. Such zoos are really possible only through the cultural participation of the people who visit them. Participation in zoos is what is really significant.
It is a Mystery that something appears or exists at all. Arising forms are Divine Mystery. Participation in Divine Mystery is the purpose of the true zoo.
The above passage was adapted from a spectacular discourse given by Adi Da Samraj on the subject of true and sacred art.
Today’s zoos, even the very best among them, have not yet attempted to serve and honor their sacred potential. To do so is a great undertaking that would require almost everything about zoos, and the human cultures around zoos to change in dramatic ways.
Today’s zoos communicate a very basic and limited level of existence and awareness, yet the animals within them have so much more to offer us if we would just stop, listen and feel…