Monday, August 13, 2007

Learning from Animals

I find animals' deep sensitivity and relatively straight forward approach to life to be refreshingly uncomplicated.

As a human being, I can complicate something as simple as a stomach ache. In a very human moment, a bit of indigestion means I have an ulcer and the thought of an ulcer reminds me that last week was stressful, which reminds me that I haven't been doing yoga in the mornings and this makes me worry that my lack of commitment to a healthy activity such as yoga means that I am undisciplined and I might as well just stop trying to do anything worthwhile because I'll just quit it anyway. How did I go from a stomach ache to feeling a lack of worth? We humans are complicated creatures!

Animals, on the other hand, so often reveal a different approach to life. Last week I learned a great deal about sensitivity and directness from my cat Mountie.

One day, I noticed that Mountie was looking a little tired and aggravated. After walking restlessly and meowing grumpily for a while, he jumped on the couch, sat my lap and looked up at me. If Mountie could speak human language, I imagine he would have said something like, "I don't feel so good. Can you do something?" I scanned Mountie with my hands and noticed that his abdomen was warm and "buzzing." All Reiki practitioners have different sensory experiences when it comes to knowing when and where to give Reiki, but this "buzzing" was my signal that Mountie could benefit from Reiki energy in his second and third chakras.

I placed both of my hands on Mountie's back and belly and let the Reiki energy flow. At first he fidgeted a bit, for I think he was wondering why I wasn't petting him like I usually do. But very quickly he rested his head on my lap, gave a big sigh, and closed his eyes. He settled into a comfortable sleep as I held him. After about 15 minutes, I felt the buzzing dissipate and he slept for another hour. When he awoke, he got up swiftly and happily, and asked for his dinner.

Both of my cats are aware on some level that when I touch them in a certain way, they feel calm, relaxed, and soothed. My other cat Selkie used to curl up on my massage table and meow until I touched him with Reiki energy. I worked with Alex the dog -- a beautiful Alaskan Malamute -- who didn't like to be cuddled or pet for very long, but allowed me to give her Reiki for over thirty minutes at a time. I believe that animals understand a simple intention for healing and they can feel healing energy without any interference -- the kind of mental gymnastics that we humans sometimes bring to the healing process.

I think animals know what they need. They try to tell us, and if we are listening we hear them and know what to do, too. I wonder if we can dig down inside ourselves and find the animal within us. I wonder if we can find that simple, sensitive creature who can simply ask for and receive comfort without strings or worries, who can trust that if we ask for healing, it will come to us.

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