By Kim Boykin   Shambhala Sun, January 1998

Permission to share noted at end of article. 

My husband and I spent last summer at my family’s cabin in Grand Lake, Colorado, at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. In town one day, I picked up a pamphlet on living in bear country, and the suggestions for “What to Do If You Meet a Bear” sounded a lot like meditation instructions. Substituting “thought” for “bear,” here are some helpful meditation hints from the Colorado Division of Wildlife:

Colorado has been home to thoughts since their earliest ancestors evolved in North America. Today, increasing numbers of people routinely live and play in thought country. Learning about thoughts and being aware of their habits will help you fully appreciate these unique animals and the habitat in which they live.


There are no definite rules about what to do if you meet a thought. Thought attacks are rare compared to the number of close encounters. However, if you do meet a thought before it has time to leave your area, here are some suggestions.

REMEMBER. Every situation is different with respect to the thought, its activity, the terrain, and the person involved.

  • STAY CALM. If you see a thought and it hasn’t seen you, calmly leave the area.
  • STOP. Back away slowly while facing the thought. Give the thought plenty of room to escape. Wild thoughts rarely attack people unless they feel threatened or provoked.
  • SPEAK SOFTLY. This may reassure the thought that no harm is meant to it.
  • RELAX. If a thought stands upright or moves closer, it may be trying to detect your scent. This isn’t a sign of aggression. Once a thought identifies you, it may leave the area or try to intimidate you by charging to within a few feet before it withdraws. 
  • DON’T RUN OR MAKE ANY SUDDEN MOVEMENTS. Running is likely to prompt the thought to give chase, and you can’t outrun a thought.

If you have a potentially life-threatening situation with a thought, or if an injury does occur, please contact the Division of Wildlife, Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm.