Donkeys & the Lessons They Impart on Compassionate Living
Adventures of the Soul by Khadija Muhaisen Dajani
“Donkey” in Arabic is a G-rated derogatory expression. It is especially handy in moments of extreme road rage when children are in the car. The first letter is guttural and ideal for deep emotional release. (But so are “animal,” “Aries,” “snake,” “sweet sesame paste,”…)
Apparently, man “tells” or commands a horse, but must “ask” a donkey. And according to a French expression: “A donkey pushes himself; he’s never pulled.”
The donkey is best described by its resolute determination and service. There is a quiet yet confident surrender to this creature —a self-invoked understanding that it has to “press on.” Until it can’t. (Incidentally, #presson is going to be my theme for 2018. Stay tuned!).
Donkeys come off as stubborn because once they recognize danger, they will stop until they figure out their next, safe option. Their third eye chakra is functioning optimally. Intuition is strong and dominant. They are cognizant of their inner self and have a heightened awareness of and respect for their capabilities. In other words, they know in their gut what they can and cannot do. Like the guttural Arabic first letter of their name, these animals evolved from the desert. They are survivors (perhaps rugged), quiet, hard-working, attuned spiritual beings with boundless wisdom.
I have never encountered a wildly angry donkey —in my urban existence on my purple couch changing the world one keyboard letter at a time. I like to believe that despite the hardships of life, and the burdens on their backs, these powerful, peaceful sages draw strength and most importantly compassion from the depths of their souls. The mischievous equanimity emanating from a donkey’s eyes holds answers to some of life’s profound mysteries.
This gentle existence is best described as “compassionate living.” A donkey’s life teaches us lessons on being steadfast in the knowledge of oneself, unique, of service, hardworking, responsible, intuitive, and innovative among so much more. And these are fundamental pieces that complete the puzzle of the compassionate life.
The first piece is knowing the self. Knowing who I truly am is tuning in to the frequency of my soul. It also means tuning out of the distractions of the material world that conspire to mislead.
When I know who I am, I am automatically elevated to the exclusive “unique” club because I have upgraded my vibrational frequency. It is this higher vibrational frequency that puts the twinkle in the donkey’s eye and the calm in its heart. To my urban, purple-couch knowledge, scientists have yet to capture, encapsulate, and patent this frequency.
When one operates on this higher vibrational frequency, one is unwavering in life’s pursuits: you know what you want because it is your potential you are striving for -your calling. It comes with a gentle “in flow” quality that makes it effortless in spite of the effort, soft in spite of the burden, and easy in spite of the unbearable difficulty. The thread that binds it all together is compassion toward the self and others.
Because you are attuned to your soul’s vibration, you intuitively recognize what is not serving your higher vibration. And like the magnificent donkey, you stop. Reassess. And make your next move guided by your internal compass. This intuitive connection and vibration can only thrive in a clean internal environment that is nourished by healthy, balanced choices as a baseline. In order for them to flourish, they will ultimately radiate onto the external world. The compassionate approach to the self turns outward. The baseline moves with it. And since our existence is really a series of relationships with humans, animals, plants, and mother earth, every relationship we have is one lovingly cultivated by compassion.
It is time to move beyond the umbrella of “wellness” to a more encompassing approach of “compassionate living” that cradles within its loving embrace health, tribe, all living beings, and the earth.
If you are still reading this, it is my hope you see the inner light of the donkey for the beautiful creation it is, here to teach us about who we are and the magical puzzle it begins to form thereon. The ancient Greeks defined happiness as “the joy we feel striving for our potential.” That donkey you see on the side of the road carrying the weight of the world on its back is holding the lessons about our potential — and key to our happiness. And maybe, if I have succeeded, you will think twice before complimenting an “ignorati” behind the wheel. #presson
Khadija Muhaisen Dajani’s journey is perfectly summed up by Gloria Steinem’s reflection of her life in which the circle, not a hierarchy, is the goal. Her work is guided by the intention to inspire compassionate living. Through Sacred Activation practices including yoga, nutrition, writing, and activism, she hopes collectively we can access our innate, infinite well of self resilience, power, and ultimately Spirit. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT500), Whole Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Graduate, & Writer. Follow her on Instagram @khadijasayoga and Facebook @Khadija Muhaisen Dajani.