My Pet, my Life Coach

“When you pet a dog or listen to a cat purring, thinking may subside for a moment and a space of stillness arises within you, a doorway into Being. The vital function that pets fulfill in this world hasn’t been fully recognized. They keep millions of people sane.” from Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle

Those who know me, know that I’m about as big of an animal lover as they come. Whenever I see a dog, or cat, or rat–or really any ball of fur–something wonderful happens. When I interact with an animal, my adult-self is put aside and the child within me comes out to play. It’s my care-free child-self who can connect with an animal, because unlike my neurotic adult-self, my child-self is connected to the present moment.

Animals amaze me. There’s something so special about the way they are. It’s ironic that what makes them special is that they lack the thing that makes humans special, consciousness. Not to say that animals are less than we are, but unlike humans they have not evolved to have conscious thinking. They do not question what they are, or that they are, they just are; they delight in just Being, and so do I when I am lucky enough to be near them.

When man ate from the metaphorical tree of wisdom, he gained an awareness that is unknown to all other creatures on Earth. This awareness allows us to ponder our existence, and dictate our future evolutionary path. But this awareness is a double-edged sword. If you live in your mind completely, you can fall victim to your thoughts. Your mind can become an uncontrollable source of confusion, anxiety, and depression. Being conscious, we have all the potential of gods, but the problem is that we are not gods. We have all of the questions, but few of the answers because we can only understand the Universe from our limited viewpoint on Earth, and we are limited by symbolic language to express what we understand.

It’s okay to not understand everything. The purpose of this life might just be to find stillness in the chaos. Or to not only have consciousness in mind, but also to find it in body and spirit. I need no religion to attain this. I’ve got my pets. And they remind me every day to stop, breathe, and play. They are the sacred keepers of my sanity, the source of my enlightenment, and the ensurers of my Being.

Photographed by Matt Heykin

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11 comments

  1. I’ve had horses almost all my life, and I absolutely hear what you’re saying. My horses are my teachers, my inspiration, my peace – not every time, but sometimes when I’m with them I experience the most blissful feeling of perfection. I can’t imagine not being able to have them in my life. Thanks for this beautiful, thoughtful post.

  2. This resonates so well with me. Every animal I make eye contact with gives me a great release of some weight of stress that has been on my shoulders. Because of wisdom life has become a battle ground of emotions. We either have our own to deal with or are dodging the likes of others’. It’s dangerous out there yet these happy go lucky creatures, the ones who walk as if nothing in this world matters but what they are doing, are the ones that hold the answers to all of our questions. The problem is they can’t speak and the ones that can are being taught to do tricks and repeat pointless words. We could learn so much from them. I would also like to say that people who love animals should not eat them. (That’s the Vegan coming out of me) Thanks for your post. 🙂

    1. They are amazing creatures who have a lot to teach us. I am so grateful for all of the animals in my life because they bring me so much joy. Thanks for reading!

  3. “It’s okay to not understand everything.”….Yes! Let’s all learn to enjoy the mystery that life is 🙂

  4. metaphyzgirl · · Reply

    I too am a animal lover and particularly miss the purring of my cat ‘jess’ as she is no longer with me. Ime not sure about animals not being Conscious, I feel/believe that nothing can be seperated from Consciousness because everything in the Universe and beyond IS consciousness. Animals are conscious beings but unlike their human counterparts are not conscious that they are conscious … if you know what I mean. Animals are closer to Source than humans precisely because they are unconscious of being conscious, (especially wild animals) because they automatically instinctively live their blueprint without question. I agree animals are a delight to have around and yes … we can learn much from them.

    1. I’m sorry that your cat is no longer with you. It’s so hard when they leave us. I understand what you’re saying about all things being consciousness, and animals being able to live completely in the present makes them that much closer to it than us. The one thing they don’t have is consciousness of mind or as you said, they are unconscious that they are conscious. Not that they’re less, but that is one quality that as far as I know is unique to humans.

  5. I love this post and agree wholeheartedly! I feel like I learn something new from my dogs every day!

    1. It’s true. I don’t think people give their animals enough credit. They’re like miniature Buddhas walking around on all fours : D

  6. Jen says that each animal comes into a human’s life with a message. We hope more humans learn to listen to that message.

    1. I agree with Jen, Rumpy. We owe our pets a lot of gratitude. : )

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