squirrelWe often do not realize that we are role modeling in our daily lives, but every single action we take, that is observed by others is seen as a permission for them to follow suit.

Humans are animals, and as such, they get a lot of information about what is permissible in their personal actions from what others do. In past generations, what was appropriate for any specific culture was modeled by the leaders, who were looked up to by the group and relied upon to show, through their way of being, what others in the group could or could not do.

We tend to think of animal behavior as static over a large population, but this isn’t the case. I observed a significant difference in my own neighborhood within the squirrel population as I go for my daily walks that was quite striking. As a student of biology, I adore observing the world around me, and the differences within ecosystems and animal communities.

Squirrels live in small, tight-knit communities with specific territorial boundaries. They enjoy close relationships with their kin and chase strangers out of their territory. The squirrels in each group learn behavior from their parents, and then pass this behavior on to their offspring.

Behaviors that are not conducive to transmission of DNA down through the generations tend to fall away, because the animals exhibiting these non-viable behaviors do not tend to reproduce and raise young. In other words, if it isn’t life-affirming and survival based, it doesn’t get passed along.

There seems little reason why a squirrel’s behavior would be different from one group to another, but their environment and available food sources have a great influence on what is possible within their community.

As I go for my walk, touching guardian trees along the way, and listening to music, I pass through four different communities of squirrels, and not only do they act differently, they present differently in a physical manner.

I pass through a school parking lot on my walk, to get to some beautiful shady areas on the other side. Next to the school is a big dumpster where the remnants of the school lunches are thrown away. The squirrels who live near the dumpster are huge and move very little. They have learned to jump off branches and into the dumpster to forage for left over food. This food is not their natural sustenance, but in the winter, when natural foraging is more difficult, this dumpster is a ready source of calories for them.

The school has been there since the 1950’s and so, at one point, many generations ago, a squirrel must have learned to jump to the dumpster and discovered food. That squirrel showed the other members of her clan what was possible, and that action became the norm for their society.

Just a little past this area is another squirrel community that lives in a neighborhood cul-de-sac. These squirrels are a bit more active, but they are also much bigger than normal squirrels. This group of squirrels has learned that they can raid the neighborhood garbage cans for food. They gnaw through the plastic lids and pales and through the garbage bags, harvesting left overs in a different way.

As interbreeding does occur between this group and the dumpster divers, it is interesting that the community seemed to have learned that food sources could exist in human receptacles, but since they did not have access to the dumpster, they evolved a new way to access the food source.

This community of squirrels has it a little bit tougher, because the humans in the neighborhood have started to adjust to their wily behavior and switch to old-fashioned tin trash cans. Their easy source of food is slowly diminishing as people switch out their chewed up cans for new metal ones, so the group will have to adapt their behavior to adjust to this significant change in resources.

Eventually, this foraging adaptation will pass out of their genetic line, because the behavior no longer supports the transmission of DNA. A perfect ‘if you don’t use it, you will lose it’ scenario.

As I continue on my walk, the next squirrel family difference is only visible in the late fall. When the neighborhood decorates their front doorways for Halloween with pumpkins, these squirrels have learned to gnaw into the pumpkins and harvest the oil-rich seeds inside. Pumpkins that are carved into Jack-O-Lanterns are not touched, so it isn’t about the flesh, but the high calorie seeds that will help the squirrels put on weight to get through the winter. They have learned how to break into a concentrated and seasonal food source that does not usually exist in squirrel land.

This group of squirrels lives directly across the street from my own Divine space of love, and they are only slightly larger physically. As we enter my little neck of the woods, we encounter a happy and active little group of squirrels who live on acorns and seeds harvested from my wild space. They are constantly playing tag, up and down the trees, digging for roots and searching for berries in the summer. Even though the group right across the street robs the pumpkins, these ones do not, and seem to be very happy and healthy in both their physicality and behavior.

Four different groups of squirrels, living within close quarters, in a similar environment, exhibiting significantly different behavior related to their survival, and this behavior does not cross territorial lines in totality, even though interbreeding does occur among the groups.

Many of you will say, well, the dumpster is not a fixture in the territory of all the squirrel families. This is indeed true, but all the other food sources, such as pumpkins, garbage cans and acorns do. It appears that when a community discovers an easy food source, and then figures out a way to exploit it, they will ignore other sources, because using their unique talents make things easier.

This might seem beneficial, but what happens, as in the case of the garbage can thiefs, when the situations change? Those squirrels must then adapt, learn old ways of survival, or perish. The key to survival is then adaptation of behavior and the ability of a community to learn how and when to change.

This isn’t only a mammalian trait, but applies to all living things. It even occurs in the insect and plant kingdoms, though behavior is harder to observe, because it is a slower process.

Human life is much more complex and interrelated than that of squirrel clans, especially when you overlay their advanced ability to reason and perceive consciousness, but the way humans learn behavior is exactly the same.

Children observe their parents and learn to express themselves in a way similar to their elders by imitating them. In traditional societies, more complex beliefs and behaviors are passed down through the oral tradition of storytelling.

In fact, specific roles and skills were guarded family secrets that were passed from parent to child so that skill is kept in the family, and guaranteed a future livelihood for the child within the clan. As the groups grew, and need for specific services increased, these family traditions expanded into the apprentice system and guilds were born.

Many cultural differences had their origins in the ecosystem in which the human clan lived, and was then cemented into the religious and societal beliefs, in order to control the group to a greater extent. A specific example of this is the rejection of pork in certain religions centered in the Middle East, due to Trichinosis, even though risk of infection has been greatly reduced due to refrigeration and improved food handling techniques.

Many social and religious beliefs seem to have outlived their efficacy, but continue to be passed down traditionally, with very few alterations over the centuries. What was once meant as a behavior to enhance survival, became a rule to enhance group identity.

As the world has gotten smaller with increased communications capabilities, humans are also exposed to significantly different patterns of being that exist in divergent environments.

In a more diverse society, where cultural mixing occurs and the traditional roles of religious and societal leaders has been eroded, it is a bit confusing to determine individual behavior past the survival level. Behaviors are very rarely tied to the survival of the individual, and are increasingly based on control mechanisms alone.

We come back to biology again, as humans are indeed social animals that had their origins in small interbreeding, non-monogamous clans that shared the work of foraging and child-rearing. Deep within us is the desire to be with other humans, because that increased individual survival rates and the passing down of genetic material to future generations.

One could also posit that this feeling of wishing to belong is also tied to the strong knowing that energetically we are all One, even though this plane does a good job of contradicting this wisdom.

So, as survival has gotten easier in most of the world, and individuals have the ability to spend more time exploring a wider variety of behaviors and perspectives, there are a significant number of individuals who will choose different paths and ways of being than their predecessors.

In many ways, this can be a good thing, as there is the ability to break the cycle of extremely negative behavior, such as sexual abuse and domestic violence. As individuals come into contact with communities and families that do not engage in these practices, they gain a wider perspective and can make different choices in their own behavior and what they pass down to their children.

In other ways, human behavior continues to be controlled by modeling transmitted specifically to control the population. Individuals wish to belong, and so they cling to groups that they identify with. Within these groups they learn to emulate identity behavior in order to cement their membership with the group.

The societal control mechanism of groups is easily identified and hacked by those who wish to foster power over,  at the expense of personal sovereignty for their own benefit.

Individual identifying groups are easily pitted against each other in order to further cement the separation and isolation of these groups and make them easier to control. Leaders can also insert specific behavior into groups by the way they speak and relate to these groups.

Behaviors that have long been seen as not conducive to the advancement of human evolution, such as racism, bigotry, misogyny, religious fundamentalism and violence are coming to the surface again as individuals see political candidates who spew rhetoric espousing these behaviors, giving followers implicit permission to express their views as normal for their group.

The opposite is also true, as geopolitical and spiritually focused individuals spread the message of peace, compassion and support, many align with this message and begin modeling these types of behaviors within their families, communities and out into the wider world.

As consciousness evolves, and humans observe these controlling or supportive behaviors, they begin to understand how their sovereignty and free will choices are inhibited significantly in their effort to belong, and they also see that there are many options for moving forward in their life expressions.

While they perceive many possibilities, this is where the road can get rocky, because there are a wide variety of forces pulling them in different directions.

In behaviors that are survival based, there is a biological resonance that cannot be mistaken, and the pathways are directly related to physical need. In other words, the choices are simple. Breathe and live. Drink water and live. Eat and live. Sleep and live.

These are more like instinct, and our bodies support their inclusion with a great amount of force. As beings with our own divine will, we can absolutely overcome these urges, but we do so at our own personal peril.

As we overlay emotional, societal and spiritual behaviors, the resonance works in a very different way, as few of the behaviors contribute to the passing down of genetic materials, which is the single most important biological imperative beyond personal survival.

Choices of this nature are then made based on what feels best to the being, what attracts them and confirms their innate beliefs. In a traditional society this was simpler, because there were very few individuals who presented with actions that were outside of the norm for the community.

As we have evolved and diverged, with many more choices on the table, the proverbial waters become more muddied and beings can become very confused. It is at this point that listening to our own heart resonance and intuition helps us find the best way forward.

In the increasing energies many are feeling their spiritual and personal freedom to express individually for the very first time, and they are also understanding more fully that their personal expression models permission for others along their path to express themselves more fully in Divine sovereignty.

When we understand the biology behind role modeling and how it has evolved during the expansion of this plane, we can more easily see how the behavior of others does not have to be our personal behavior.

We are free to reject what does not resonate with our hearts and souls and embody what does make our heart sing, knowing that all experience and behavior is valid, but not all is perfect for each of us.

We, as divine beloved children of the Universe get to choose what we resonate with and how we model out into the wide world, as a blessed offering of our own soul’s expression to all existence.

We bless others, and their own free will choice to exhibit similar behavioral expressions, or choose different ones, but without our modeling, it may never even cross their minds that another way is possible.

Written for Gaia Scenics’ View

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