"Where do we find hope in today's world? I find it in the ability of an elderly rabbi to catch the glimmer of curiosity in a young boy's eyes. I find hope in our ability to truly see and become conscious of each other. When we meet face-to-face and see eye-to-eye, we find that our differences of age, background, and even species are less important than the spirit that unites us.
"There is an old Latin motto, lupus est homo homini, that means 'man is a wolf to man.' Finding peace within and bringing peace to the world may start with the capacity to look into another's eyes and to recognize there a kindred soul — whether the eyes belong to a German, a Dutchman, a friend or stranger, a chimpanzee, or even a wolf.
"What do we see when we look into the eyes of another living creature? A lesser being? An object of indifference? Or can we look more deeply? Can we touch the inwardness of that animal and empathize with its joys and concerns? Can we see other animals as they are, different from us but not wholly unlike ourselves? Here is an interspecies meditation you might like to try:
"Look into the eyes of an animal. It might be your dog or cat. Or, if you like, select one of the creatures whose photographs appear in this book. And as you look into those eyes, reflect that this being is a never-to-be-duplicated expression of the universe.
"Pay attention to what you see: the years of living present within those eyes and the vitality that shines through their color and transparency.
"Contemplate their shape. Notice the angles and curves of individuality that make the face of this creature a unique work of art, crafted by time and desire.
"And as you look into this being's eyes, pay attention also to what you cannot see: the inwardness, the selfhood, the 'I' that is as singular as its outward expression.
"What you look upon is a living spirit. Greet and respect it. Appreciate it for what it is.
"Ask yourself: What does it feel like to be this creature?
"What does the world look like through its eyes?
"Become aware of the great antiquity within those eyes — the millenia of evolution they hold within their gaze.
"Sense a solitude you can never fully enter into or understand.
"Be aware that this is a being who has known hardships and hurts you can never imagine. This is a being who has known moments of wildness and innocence that you can never share.
"Yet this is a creature who is alive and has desires like you. It walks the same ground and breathes the same air. It feels pain and enjoys its senses — the dazzling warmth of the sun, the cooling shade of the forests, the refreshing taste of pure water — as you do. And in this we are all kin.
"In that kinship, all life exists. Through that kinship we can find wholeness. Out of that kinship we can draw wisdom and understanding for the healing of our common home."