Most spiritual, religious and philosophical discussions describe the appearance of an individual self that has moved away from its true self and in time recognizes the longing to return to its true nature. Many call this the spiritual pathway.
Life expresses itself in ways so that the apparent individual experiences its true nature as well as experiences that point in the direction of the true self. Each culture has its own way that is most efficient in accomplishing this goal. People in India and the Far East have a close connection to the apparent inner self and have been taught in a way that they believe will give the greatest opportunity to return to Self.
Here in the west, we are different. We have evolved into an intellectual society that is highly influenced by the logical, discursive mind. Any attempt to find realization of the true Self using methods found in other cultures has very little potential to succeed. This is why we find it so difficult to effectively meditate. Our busy minds obscure the internal stillness. The most effective way for those of us conditioned by the intellectual, ego-mind to find self-realization is by using our intelligence in order to point us in the right direction.
Unfortunately, because we have busy minds and busy lives, we spend very little time devoted to self-realization, in spite of the fact that it is our natural pathway. Life will find ways to help us out, knowing our tendencies. One way is through our pets.
Companion animals play a very important role in our lives for our spiritual development. Our pets choose us in order to help us along our pathway. We might believe that we have a desire to have a cat, or dog, or horse, or guinea pig, but consciousness (the true self) acts in us to move in a direction that will most benefit us. Each type of pet will have an overall purpose with many secondary benefits that will express throughout their lives.
The Role Dogs Play In Our Lives
I will discuss the role of dogs in this article because dogs are service animals, much like angels. In order for us to first understand the role of spiritual guidance that our dogs provide, we need to understand how they experience life. We humans, with our developed forebrain, assume that our dogs live in a world like ours because we have a sense of self that assumes our world is the only world. Our dogs live in a very different world. About the closest metaphor that can be used is what it was like when you were four or five years old and the world was one joyful event without criticism or judgment.
The reality our dogs perceive is grounded in a higher level of consciousness that is in tune with the overall consciousness that created the world. Call it consciousness, source energy or God, it is all the same conceptual idea. Since all states of consciousness have a different energetic profile (vibrational patterns), higher states of consciousness, those where our dogs (as all animals) live, have higher vibrations than people. This is one of the reasons why we are naturally drawn to dogs. They energetically attract us.
For those who know Christianity, you are aware of the impact that Jesus had on the world. He not only taught the people his teachings, but his level of consciousness was so high that his energy raised the entire collective conscious energy of the world, which obviously helped all mankind.
Energy is energy and it has its own laws. Our dogs, with their higher vibrational energy, not only make us feel better emotionally and physically, but they help offset our lower, dense energy that often leads to imbalances that create illness. Unfortunately, this benefit has its limits and in time, if our negative energy persists, it will have a deleterious effect on our dog as well.
The state of awareness that our dogs occupy is a state of consciousness that is in tune with our higher consciousness. This is why they have the ability to know our intent without intellectually understanding. This is also why they have the ability to love us unconditionally. Their “seat of consciousness” is always seated in love and they know nothing more.
They do not have a developed ego that creates a sense of self, therefore they have no ability to create a me or mine attitude. They do become conditioned as they have a body and a brain. This is why they learn to come when their name is called, fetch their ball, recognize you, etc. But, they do not claim their experience.
When a sensation arises such as pain, they do not mentally claim that they are in pain. Pain arises in the moment, persists or leaves, and then the next moment occurs. They do not have the ability to carry on mental experiences into the next moment. This is why they are totally incapable of suffering that comes only from the mind’s involvement.
The other main purpose, besides energetic input, that our dogs offer us is to teach us how to allow. They are the premier teacher that offers us the example of allowing life to express itself without suffering. They do not resist life’s expression. People react to life’s expressions if it doesn’t suit them and become reactive and oppose life’s expression. When there is resistance, there is suffering.
Without understanding, dogs are aware that life expresses itself moment to moment in many different ways. They allow life to direct them. If they are in pain, they rest. If they are afraid, they move away. In the allowing, there is no creation of fear and they maintain an open channel to participate in life as it. Life does not make mistakes and all experiences are here to benefit us. Unfortunately, we have conditioned ourselves to oppose those experiences that are painful and instead of allowing in order to learn, we resist the experience, create suffering and miss the lesson that life intended us to have.
Kris came to my office because her dog had chronic pain. Conventional treatment was not helping and her dog had a great deal difficulty getting up and moving around. When Kris entered my office, it became very clear that something was presenting itself that was more than a painful dog. Kris moved very similarly to her dog. She told me that she had been injured on her job and that she had been living with chronic pain that kept her from doing the things that she loved most. She seemed angry and bitter at life. As a holistic veterinarian, it was easy to see that her dog was acting as a mirror for herself.
I talked to Kris about how energy worked and why our dogs come into our life. Immediately, Kris reacted with guilt as she became aware of her contributing to her dog’s overall health. Now, she not only felt horrible about her own health, but now she felt guilt about her beloved dog. I explained to her that we had to find a place of allowance so that we could learn from this experience and that from that place of allowance we would not be influenced by negative emotions or thoughts. This would be the only way to find the lesson in this experience and open the door to true healing.
We sat together for a while and did a short meditation. Her dog lay between us. In a short time I asked Kris to look at her dog and tell me what she saw. I asked her not to think about it, but instead to feel from her heart and let me know what came to her. She answered, “joyful.” Kris became absolutely aware that her dog was joy expressed.
I asked her if he was different at home. She admitted that her dog was always joyful no matter what the circumstance. I asked her if he was joyful in spite of the fact that he had difficulty walking across the room, unable to play like he once did. She knew that it was the truth. It was her lesson. Her loving dog showed her that she could be truly happy no matter what life presented to her, even chronic pain.
If you were to experience your dog’s reality, there would be an awareness that you probably have forgotten. Pets are aware of their true, higher selves; an expanded source of consciousness that objectively witnesses the life expressions occurring in that same consciousness. They are also aware (not intellectual understanding) that they are eternal; no beginning, no end.
From this state of awareness there is no ability to discern birth or death, as that understanding involves time and space, which is derived from limited consciousness and duality of the intellectual mind. Without the belief of birth or death, they are free to live each moment, unaltered by experience and fully participating in all of life’s expression.
I once heard someone say that our pets are living in the joyful moment of life’s expression even while experiencing the dying process.
Namaste is a Sanskrit word that has been used in India for thousands of years and is a popular greeting for spiritual people across the world. It means, “I bow to the Divine spirit in you.” This is how your dog truly greets you. All of us dog caretakers need to start noticing the lessons that our dogs are offering us. They have so much wisdom to teach and loving to share.
The purpose of life is to have experiences. Experience comes as two manifestations. One experience reflects the expanded, true self and appears as happiness, joy, compassion, love and beauty. The other reflects a misinterpretation of the true self and appears as suffering.
Reflection is the pertinent word. Your external world, the one that you perceive as “out there” is nothing more than a reflection of your internal world. It is like looking into the mirror each morning. Any attempt to fix something “out there” is like trying to shave the image in the mirror in order to remove the stubble on the reflected face.