Get in Tune with Your Pet's Soulful Side
By Allen and Linda Anderson
Have you noticed that pets demonstrate spiritual qualities--joy, unconditional love, creativity, gratitude--in abundance? If you want to develop a deeper spiritual connection with your pets, there are sacred practices that you can use. They allow human-animal relationships to move into greater awareness, enlightenment, and divine love.
By using the techniques presented in this gallery, you have the opportunity to experience spiritual growth while sharing life with your pet. Paw in hand, the two of you will travel a journey of the heart together.
Allen and Linda Anderson are authors of a popular series of books, articles, columns, and bogs about the benefits of human-animal companionship. They are founders of the Angel Animals Network and publish the Angel Animals Story of the Week newsletter. Visit Allen and Linda at www.angelanimals.net and at the Angel Pets Fan Club.
Keep a Pet Gratitude Journal
Now is a good time to give the relationship with your pet a spiritual vitamin by starting a pet gratitude journal.
Before you go to sleep at night, for as many nights as you wish, list three things you appreciate about your pet. Look at your pet and read these three items to him or her. Go to sleep with your pet on the bed, if that works for you, and fill your heart with gratitude for having such a loving presence in your life.
Imagine and Dream Together
Spend silent time with your pet before going to sleep. With a gentle touch, stroke the animal. Imagine your pet as a soul inhabiting an animal body. Ask this soul to visit your dreams and communicate with you.
Place your notebook and pen or a tape recorder near your bed. In the morning, before starting your day, write or record any dreams you may have had.
Express Affection in Special Ways
What are the special ways that you and your pet show love and devotion to each other? What always makes you laugh? How have you learned to read each other's minds and hearts? What rituals and routines do you have?
Write about your unique forms of human-animal affection in your journal. When the sad day comes that your pet passes on, it will be these memories that bring you the deepest consolation.
See Life from Your Pet's Point of View
At a time when no one else is around, turn off the phone and remove as many outer distractions as possible. You are creating a place where you can spend quality quiet time with your pet.
Lie on the floor or get to eye level with the animal. Reflect on what it is like to see the world from your pet's perspective. From this viewpoint, observe what your pet might experience while looking at you or other human and animal family members.
Ask, Why Are We Together?
Grab a photograph that shows a close-up of your pet's face and eyes. Look into the image and reflect on the love between you. Ponder why this relationship is important to you.
What could be the spiritual reasons that this animal is in your life right now? Have the two of you made a sacred agreement to assist each other? Reflect on these questions and write spontaneous, unfiltered answers to them.
Sing a Spiritual Love Song
Did you know that singing and chanting holy songs also uplifts animals? HU (pronounced like the word hue) is an ancient love song to God that we sing personally to our pets. It tunes us into the divine love flowing through all of life.
Stand or sit near your pet. Fill your heart with love. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, sing HU in a long, flowing note (HU-oo-oo-oo). Repeat a few times. Together, enjoy a spiritual boost by chanting this golden sound.
Get in Touch with Nature
Take a walk in a lovely environment and allow yourself to appreciate nature. Turn this stroll into a spiritual adventure in which you are open to all gifts.
Listen to the delicate sounds of birds chirping. Observe squirrels darting up trees and crawling along leafy branches. Just as you and your pet inhabit a physical home as members of a family, we all share this planet with the animals.
Meditate, Pray, and Relax
Many animals instinctively know how to relax and let go, making them natural meditators. During a time when your pet is resting, try sitting in a quiet room with the animal nearby or on your lap.
Take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes. Stay in a soothing inner space of love, peace, and harmony for five or ten minutes. Silently pray with your heart open to receive blessings. Meditate or pray at the same time every day.
Nurture Trust in Times of Emergency
Help your pet learn the spiritual quality of trust by being consistent with daily care, affection, and training.
Be ready for physical emergencies. Have a pet disaster kit, emergency first aid materials, and extra food, water, and prescription medications on hand. As friends and mutual guardians, know that you will make it through whatever storms come your way.
Always Forgive and Show Love
One of the most frequently mentioned benefits of having pets is the unconditional love that they give. How many of us remember to return that love unconditionally?
Next time your pet makes a mistake, use the spiritual practice of loving without conditions. Truly feel the words as you say to them: "I love you--no matter what."