I am a fan of Dr. Karen Becker, the veterinarian who works with Mercola. She is a great veterinarian and a true advocate for alternative and natural methods for pet health care. I also sympathize with her duties of having to supply tons of information for her readers. I know, before I became a vet, I was a journalist and had a weekly newspaper column on outdoor recreation. It is hard to continually find new sources for interesting information. So, we will usually re-use material after a while, not only to help fill in the blanks but give readers who missed it the first time an opportunity to read the material.
Karen wrote an article, and it has been re-released a couple of times that I know of, that is titled, “Can you love your pet too much.” The first time I read the headline, I immediately thought, “Wow, Karen. You either have had a spot of temporary insanity or you have a whole lot of courage.” I have noticed that for each article she posts, she usually gets about a dozen people that respond to the article. Each time she posts this article, she will get one or two hundred. They usually state something like, “You must be crazy. I could never love my pet too much.” or “My pets love me so much, why wouldn’t I do the same for them.” But, my favorites are the ones that say, “I love my pets more than I love people.”
So, for those of you who are reacting already by agreeing with these comments, let’s take a breath and see what Karen was really trying to say. Let’s start by saying that we WAY overuse the word, love. There are even people out there who have described different types of love in hopes to narrow this concept down a bit. But, if we really look at love, and what it really means, we don’t need to break it down. All we need to do is to be aware of what is not love and we can get an idea of what love really is.
We humans, like to use the word, love, in conjunction with our special relationships. We most likely have a love for our parents, our siblings, our children, our pets, and our spouse. Well, maybe our spouse. If we admit that we have love for all of these individuals, could we admit that they appear to have a different flavor? You certainly don’t love your spouse or boyfriend like you do your Father. Then, we state that we love certain activities. I myself love to be in nature.
If we begin to break down love into different types of love, then we have to admit that love becomes conditional. This type of love comes from the condition of being a parent, a child, etc. It apparently changes with the condition. If love is conditional, is it really love?
We often refer to love as often being unconditional. This is the love that our pet gives us and that God gives us. There is something that really opens the heart when you feel love unconditionally. So, why is it that we human beings have such difficulty loving unconditionally? It is because the unconditional love that flows through us is distorted by our personal mind and it becomes conditional (conditioned by our mindset). This is when things get really tricky.
If you have ever been married, you most likely promised your spouse, before God, that you would love him/her for the rest of your life. At the time, you actually believed it. Then, about a year later, you realize that things have changed and within just a few years, there is about a 50:50 chance that you will get a divorce. The answer most often given is, “I don’t love him/her anymore.” Now, if that doesn’t sound like a song that the ego likes to sing, I have never heard one.
The truth of the matter is that the moment that we allow our personal mind to judge our loving relationship, it is no longer love. It is somewhere between love and like; maybe live? Then, there is that extreme, the one that often happens with exes, “I used to love him, but now I hate him.” “And, stick around and I will tell you all the reasons why.” Ego, ego, ego.
If we really looked at the truthful state of being at the altar, we might actually see this progression; Love opened my heart and I had an emotional reaction. Some biochemical events occurred, hormones kicked in and now my love has a taste of infatuation (second chakra stuff). My mind jumped in and created a list of all the reasons that I love my new spouse. I do love him unconditionally!
A couple of years later, the heart has begun to close (due to the mind’s dominance), the hormones have pooped out, the list of all the reasons I love my spouse was actually a list of all the things I liked about him and now I have another list of all the things I don’t like about him. I think I am falling out of love.
I don’t want to spend any more time about the ego influence on love. That is something for the psychotherapists, but I would like to discuss real love. What is real love? Take a look in the mirror. That’s real love. If you don’t believe it, ask your dog and he will give you the same opinion. Might not ask the cat. If he is sleeping, he might forget and hiss at you.
If you are having a hard time wrapping your head around that thing in the mirror being unconditional love, let’s look at it from another perspective, that won’t get the ego so over-reactive. You know by now that everything is energy. There is one source of energy, call it Source energy, consciousness, God, whatever. It is a universal energy field that is both energetic and intelligent, meaning gives direction. It is also an energetic field of unconditional Love, real Love. You know, that Love that you want to believe that God has for you. The one that really opens your heart. Yep, that’s the one.
That’s also the Love that you should be feeling about yourself. You have read all the books that tell you, you need to love yourself before you can love others. Unfortunately, that isn’t how it works. You are Love itself because you are an expression of the Love of Source energy. Sort of like the Buddhists say, “Your eyeball cannot see itself.” Love cannot witness itself and the more you look for it in yourself, the more disappointed and the more lacking you will feel.
Imagine that you are the sun and the light coming from you is Love. The sun cannot detect its own light, nor can you detect your own love. You can only express love. This is the reason you were created, so that Source could experience its Loving self. It made you so that you could express its love to all those around you. So, that your light could shine on everything (itself). So, if you want to experience Love, give Love. This is the pathway to unification.
This might seem pretty impossible these days but you don’t have to look far to see how simple it really is. Look at your beloved pet or look into the eyes of a small child. That light will hit you smack in the middle of your heart, open it temporarily and you will feel Source Love.
Let’s look at another example. I was out walking the dogs in the park this morning. I happened to watch a hawk flying by and there was this little song bird attacking this big hawk. You most likely have seen this before. If you look at this situation, you might think, “Why does that happen?” More than likely, if the hawk had an ego-driven mind, it probably would kill the little bird, but it doesn’t. Instead, it has an awareness that might go like this. “I know that I am a big hawk and that you are a puny song bird, and that I could kill you and eat you, but I also know that you are a Mother bird, protecting your nest and that at sometime I will likely do the same thing. Namaste.” The silent awareness that moves the hawk to fly away without attack is Love, expressing itself as loving compassion.
Your pet is aware of this about you. Your infant child is aware of this about you. Your Mother and Grandmother are aware of this about you. Your Dad and Granddad are aware of this about you, although they likely would have a hard time saying it. Even your spouse is aware of this about you. He just has forgotten. His mind is busy trying to figure out why the hawk doesn’t kill the song bird.
So, can you love your pet too much? Nope, nor can you love your pet too little. Love is Love, pure and simple, unconditional and unchanging forever. We just need to be like the hawk and allow our heart to guide us instead of our fearful ego. Jesus said, “Love your enemy.” He didn’t say to like your enemy, but for your loving self to recognize his loving self and honor that. Namaste.