Fascination with Sloths Segues into Mindfulness Meditation
It's a fact that the sloth is so adored zoos are having a hard time finding enough of them for all of the would-be onlookers. It seems many are all agog over sloths. Zoo keepers have found that some zoo patrons are so in awe of the sloth that they break down into tears when they first see a live one.
Indeed, poachers too are having a field day supplying these wanted mammals to their customers.
A quick read about sloths informs one that these amazing creatures of the rain forest have been created to be ever so slow to move, and prefer to sleep hours on end every day. Not only do they move slowly, eat slowly, but they do almost everything upside down happily hanging from their high perch. To many this serene slow-to-move mammal mirrors the mindfulness techniques of being still, peaceful, and letting the world pass by.
So popular are sloths you'll find book stores offering a variety of items pertaining to them: journals, stickers, stationery, tee-shirts, Christmas cards, stuffed sloths, throws, book bags, jewelry, calendars, and the list goes on. Even Hollywood got in on the sloth obsession with Sid the Sloth in "Ice Age," and the slow sloth employees of the DMV in "Zootopia."
Noticing this sloth fascination I wondered could it be these animals are used for meditation? Just a bit of research and yes, I found this special animal that God made to be very slow, and unique in its ways is being turned right side up to assume a meditative sitting position to lure kids and adults alike into meditation.
Who could miss the Budda-like sloths with closed eyes sitting in a lotus-cross-legged position atop a book store shelf? I could not!. How clever! Just arrange the long sloth legs cross wise, and the toed claw "fingers" into mudras and you have meditating sloths. The enemy, the devil, knows exactly how to take an animal such as a sloth and literally turn it into something opposite of what God intended as Isaiah 5:20 warns.
Author Ton Mak wrote A Sloth's Guide to Mindfulness (July 2018), a cartoon-like deceptive book, one can use to learn how to meditate. Amazon's introductory blurb to the book says, "Follow a serene and smilely sloth through a series of light meditations … with this snuggable guide." Of his book Mak writes, "This little book encourages a slower pace--a more mindful, philoslothical life."
Another book, A Sloth's Guide to Taking It Easy (2018), by Sarah Jackson introduces children to "Brian," a three-toed sloth, as "... the perfect mentor on your journey to stepping back and slowing life down." "Brian" will take you on your way to some "serious chilling" i.e. meditative techniques, and will become your relaxation guru.
To help you along Jackson suggests reciting "Positivity Mantras" consisting of three things you like about yourself. After, one holds up a mirror, and recites aloud each mantra ten times while looking at one's self. However, Proverbs 3:5-7 tells us not to elevate ourselves but to: "Trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and lean not to our own understanding" … and "not to be wise in our own eyes."
Seductively cute color books too use sloths, color books such as The Sloth Mandala Coloring Book for Kids, and Slothdala: Relax with Sloth and Mandala Design. (2017) The first color book cover pictures a smiling sloth hanging from a branch attached to a mandala. The mandala's green focal point is very visible inviting one into fixing one's gaze on it, and entering into meditation.
The second sloth color book Slothdala encourages little ones from two to adults to color its sloth mandalas. Its alluring cover shows a seated sloth meditating with an intricate mandala-like-crown over its head.
"Mandalas are," as defined in my booklet Mandala Color Books: Relaxing Fun or Tool for New Age Meditation? (2016-Lighthouse Trails Research), "a visual tool to take one into a meditative state just as mantras are a vocal tool to lead one into emptying one's mind. … As one repeatedly gazes, contemplates, looks upon, stares at the mandala while following its hypnotic patterns, it can have the effect of relaxing the person into an altered state or even a trance."
Color books such as these sloth mandala ones haven't gone away, but have proliferated to the point they are now just another tool in the meditative arsenal available to colorists of all ages. As my booklet's final paragraph title warned: "Color Me Discerning, or Color Me Deceived: Which Will It Be?" Therefore, be careful what you color!
Sadly, the sloth, so wondrously created, has now become a meditative icon used to lure many more into meditative practices such as mindfulness. Instead of focusing on being "more sloth" let us find peace and rest in the Lord Jesus Christ who said, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
Learn to Discern Granny Verse: I Peter 5:8
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
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