Gifts: Concentration. Focus. Patience. Gentleness. Zen-like calmness. Clear sight and discernment (black and white).
Challenges: Not seeing or accepting the nuances (gray) of life. Stubbornness. Rejection.
Panda offers the gifts of concentration and discernment. Physical pandas eat only bamboo leaves. The message for you is not literally to limit yourself to only one food source, but rather to focus your attention on the one single most important thing in front of you right now. No multi-tasking. Just one thing. I’m reminded of Jack Palance’s admonishment to Billy Crystal in the movie “City Slickers”: “One thing.” The most important thing is the one thing.
Call in Panda when you are procrastinating or feeling distracted. This applies to when you’re distracted from the people you’re with. Hanging out with your kids? Put the iPhone away. (I know how hard it is!) Having dinner with a friend, a date, or your spouse? Be there fully and completely with them. Concentrate all of your attention on them and see the amazing response you get.
A wonderful and easy meditation you can do to hone your Panda gifts is to close your eyes and repeat to yourself (out loud orsilently): “Just this. Just this. Just this.” Repeat the mantra slowly and gently. There doesn’t need to be a tempo or rhythm to it. It doesn’t have to match your breathing. When your mind starts to wander—which is totally fine—softly bring it back with the reminder “Just this.” You can even imagine bamboo leaves if you want to!
Panda’s gift of discernment comes from the black/white nature of Panda. The world is not black and white, of course. Most of the world is swirling in grays—and purples, reds, yellows. . . . Panda offers you the gift of discernment that comes from clear sight, from being able to tell one thing from another, from being able to pick out the truth from the lies and the “more right” from the “less right”—or the outright wrong.
The shadow side of Panda is stubbornness. You may see the world purely in black and white and not see or accept the nuances, the grays. You may cling so tightly to your “one thing” that you ignore, reject, or refuse to consider anything else. This shadow side of stubbornness makes you miss out on many beautiful and subtle parts of life.
If you find yourself there, remember that you are not a panda. You may have more than “one thing” in life. Everything is not black and white. Panda supports you moment to moment, not in stretching out the moment to exclude everything else.
With Panda as your spirit animal, you may be naturally relaxed, grounded, and easygoing. This is great for you but can be challenging to other people. They may want more passion, action, or ambition from you. Let them fret away. You contribute a gentle stability that serves as high a purpose as any passion, action, or ambition. Just this.