“10 years ago or so, I was mountain biking in a forest near where I live. It was a beautiful October afternoon, mid-60s, peak foliage, crisp air. I stopped my mountain bike on top of a hill in a very remote part of the forest, and saw this beautiful oak tree about 50 feet off the trail. I was doing a lot of yoga at the time and I was really deep in my mindfulness, yoga, meditation practice. So I sat down under a tree, I pulled my hood up over my head and closed my eyes and started to meditate. It was a good time in my life. I was feeling a lot of gratitude and I just started praying.
I asked my divine Spirit to come and share in my gratitude with me. I was saying ” thank you” and I invited Spirit to come and sit with me. And those were my words that I spoke out loud in that moment.
A few seconds later, I heard footsteps in the forest and I thought it was somebody hiking, so I just continued to meditate. And then I noticed that the sound was getting a little closer, and closer and I started to wonder what was going on. But I remained still.
Then I heard a twig snap right behind the tree, like two feet behind me. And I heard a loud exhalation and all the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I knew that there was a bear right behind me.
I slowly turned my head to look over my shoulder and about 15 inches behind me, I could see, from the shoulders to rump of a really large black bear.
“Do I run? Do I get up? Do I yell? Do I climb a tree? ”
Immediately I had the sense that the best thing to do was just remain calm. So I was just sitting there, breathing and meditating on my fear essentially, and my fight-or-flight response. And then, the bear came around to my right, about a foot away from me.
It settled down and actually sat right next to me.
That bear and I were sitting next to one another.
When the bear got up to walk away, I was relieved.
When it was 20 feet away, it turned to look back at me
and we made eye contact.
When I stood up, my legs actually gave out.
I shot out of those woods on my bike but at the same time
I was feeling so much gratitude,
it was the most amazing thing that’s ever happened,
such an impressive, wild being.”
An edited version of Micah Mortali’s bear story, Daily Good Jan 14, 20