November 27, 2020

Buffalo Rubbing Stone and Wisdom

Buffalo rubbing stones are one of the interesting natural phenomena around Calgary. During the last ice age this entire area was covered with glaciers. As these glaciers receded, they dragged with them large boulders and rocks. When a rock became too heavy to for the glacier to drag, it found a new home. Some of these rocks were carried for hundreds of miles and some were the size of a car or truck.

Later, when herds of buffalo roamed through this area, they loved to rub along these rocks, especially in the spring when they were shedding heavy winter coats. The buffalo are no longer here in the great numbers of the past, but people are.

Calgary grew up and around a number of these stones. People are attracted to them almost as much as the buffalo. Many of them are popular tourist attractions. A relatively small buffalo rubbing stone lives in a park in my neighborhood. It is tucked along side a small grove of quaking aspens and is surrounded by honeysuckle bushes, sage and wild asters. As the area was developed, this park was untouched and set aside as natural prairie land.

The neighborhood school regularly takes children on field trips to the stone as part of their study of the natural history of this area. I remember my own children coming home quite excited about this stone and sharing stories of buffalo hair found in the rock long after buffalo disappeared.

The stone has the look and feel of great age, being covered with lichen and some moss. It stands about shoulder high to me and is about six feet long and three feet wide. This rock almost demands reverence. I find it interesting that it has been untouched by the youth of the area, while another smaller stone about fifty feet away in the woods is covered with graffiti and paint.

So, what does a buffalo rubbing stone have to do with wisdom? What is a wisdom? The human mind has been a great mystery to philosophy and science for eons. Our entire experience of life is created by our perceptions and our perceptions are colored by our beliefs. No two human beings will perceive the same event in exactly the same way. It’s a miracle we even get along with each other at all.

To me, a wise mind uses its perceptions well, no matter how old or young the owner. The key to wisdom lies in understanding your perceptions and their underlying beliefs. And also understanding that no other human will see something the same way you do. Sometimes this is refreshing and sometimes downright annoying. Maybe this is the birth of compassion.

Human beings usually assign great wisdom to beings of great age. Our stories are full of them. Think of Merlin, Gandalf, the wizard and the Ents, tree-herders from the ancient Fangorn forest in “The Lord of the Rings.”

We have within our minds many layers of consciousness and/or perception. One of these layers offers a connection to great knowledge and wisdom. Carl Jung called this the “collective unconscious.” I call it my “inner wise one.”

If I have a problem or question that I feel needs the input of deep inner wisdom or knowing, I go into a meditative state, quiet my mind and ask my inner wise one to come forward. If my mind is quiet enough, I will feel its presence. Then I will ask my question, clear my mind and listen. If I receive an answer (usually the first thoughts that come into my mind), it is still my choice to decide whether or not to follow it.

Since the ancient buffalo rubbing stone in our park reminds me so much of my inner wise one, I thought I would have some fun one day and create the perception of introducing them to each other. I offer this perception to you for your enjoyment.

Leaning against the stone, I connected to my inner wise one and asked what kind of wisdom would a buffalo rubbing stone share if it could speak. I cleared my mind, pen and paper in hand and this is what I heard. “Ancient is only a frame of mind, as is wisdom. Wisdom and knowledge are available for all no matter what the age. I have seen many ages come and go and people do not change. Their minds do. Where is your mind now? Does it serve you? Wise humans are a gift to each other and I encourage each of you to find the wisdom within. How will you know true wisdom? It supports all life. I am as old as the ages and never have I seen anything shine as bright as a wise human. Know that you are loved beyond measure by your planet and its beings.”