Lots of people talk to animals. Not very many listen, though.
That’s the problem.
~Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
Thousands of years ago, humans took animals from the wild into the fields, and eventually into our homes. There was a turning point when animals became more than “just” a source of food and clothing, when their significance as individual sentient beings was realized in our consciousness.
Many ancient tribes understood the deep spiritual connection between all beings of the earth. They acknowledged that every animal – from those we encounter in the wild, to those we train to aid us in (or relieve us of) labor, to those we consume – is worthy of respect and reverence. They believed that each animal, without the benefit of spoken language, nevertheless had a voice and that there was much to be learned from listening.
All entities of the Animal Kingdom are bonded by the shared experience of being alive on this planet. The essence of the nature of the relationship between humankind and animals is Love; it is the energy that draws us together. Some people feel a spiritual connection with animals on a higher plane. For them, these Spirit Animals serve as guides and protectors. Many of us seek out animals as companions. Our desire to bring pets into our homes and our lives is rooted in our universal need for love without judgment. The divine energy of Love flows through the bond between all living beings.
This is why Animal Therapy is so beneficial to people with chronic or debilitating illness, including depression: there is something almost tangible in the bond between humans and animals which serves to strengthen and heal both our bodies and our spirits. When we embrace this connection, our pain subsides, our blood pressure is lowered, and our anxiety is soothed as we are reminded that we are never alone. The divine energy of Love, manifest physically through human-animal interaction.
Animals, whether Companion or Spirit, have a great deal to share with us. They have a great deal to tell us on a heart-and-soul level, if we are only willing to listen.
How can you honor your own personal deep connection to the Animal Kingdom today? How deeply can you listen?
Thank you for this sensitive rendering of the underlying role of love that pervades all relations: animal, human, and all of life. I was touched by your choice, too, of including not only of our living-embodied animal friends, but also animals as Spirit Presences. I am especially pleased that, in a Unitarian Universalist context, we can welcome the deep feeling life of soul without that seeming to be “supernatural.” It is, indeed, an extraordinarily natural expression of human experience; one that draws creatively from the human imagination. When we personify our feelings, and can relate with them as “Spirit Presences,” we invite the intangible felling life into ways that help nurture and sustain us in our daily lives. Well done.
Rev. Roy Reynolds
I could have written pages on this subject, it touches me so deeply. Love pervades all of earth’s creatures, indeed, all of life. And our connection to all other living things exists on so many levels.
(I am also of the opinion that much of what is widely considered to be “supernatural” is actually entirely natural, yet simply not yet universally, experientially understood by us.)
Thank you, Roy.