Crocodiles and Emotional Flexibility
Remember all those Tarzan movies where you’d see the crocodile in the water with nothing but eyes and snout showing.
Well, crocodiles aren’t all gnash and tail. Intelligence would not be the first quality I’d bestow on their dragon heads. That would be an error. They’re not as dumb as they look.
The late Steve Irwin knew better. He devised the studies that made this story possible.
For one thing, crocodiles get around. They’ve been found hundreds of miles from home. And it appears they have gotten their on purpose.
And, the odd thing about this is that, whatever other qualities they may have, these voracious aquatic reptiles are really bad swimmers according to National Geographic.
That suggests the crocodiles are somehow island hopping, keeping the overall gene pool well mixed. But until now, no one was sure just how the crocs were traveling, as they’re excellent swimmers for short distances but aren’t great at long, endurance swims.
If you can’t swim, surf.
The answer is that the crocodiles ride surface currents, says a group led by Craig Franklin, a zoologist at the University of Queensland in Australia. The reptiles only travel when the current flows in the direction of their desired journey, the researchers report. When the tide turns, the crocodiles either climb onto the riverbank or dive to the bottom of the river to wait for the current to reverse. Nature News
So, how does a person master anger with the crocodiles?
The feeling of anger is like a wave or a current. Just as the crocodile doesn’t have any control over the flow of the river or the waves in the ocean, we don’t have control over the waves of anger that sometimes show up.
Our reptile friend has learned how to use the way the river flows by learning to recognize how the currents work. They don’t just jump onto a current and see where it takes them, they’ve developed a sense of the right currents to take. If they find themselves on a current that isn’t taking them where they want to go, they crawl up on the shore or bank and wait for the right one to come along. From National Geographic again -
No matter the reason for their journeys, the study shows that the scaly beasts must have impressive navigational instincts, he said.
“If you think about most animals that travel long distances, they’ll swim in one direction,” Franklin said.
“With a crocodile, they have to navigate all these features”—surfing from rivers to deltas and across the open ocean to various islands—”to get from A to B. It’s not in a straight line, so they must have a very sophisticated navigational ability.”
So, for us mere humans what are the navigational skills we need to develop. We have to watch the waves as they come and go, and know when to hop off and when to get on. As we learn to ride the waves, probably more like a surfer than an crocodile, we can steer our board toward doing what needs to be done.
We may have to take it a little slower, to check the current so that we can navigate toward our values. If it’s up to me, I don’t want to end up somewhere I may have been heading but really didn’t want to go.
Think you could take a lesson from the crocodiles?
If you did, how would you use it?