Meditation is an integral part of a holistic lifestyle for people. Many scientific studies now show that the regular practice of meditation can improve brain function, benefit the immune system, promote healthy sleep patterns, and even increase cancer survival. If you are interested in learning how to meditate, here is a free online course.
I have heard from some meditation experts that you should remove animals from your room when meditating. I think those who make such recommendations have a more distant relationship with their pets than many of us. As one who meditates and a holistic veterinarian, I’m here to tell you that it is fine to meditate with your pet. In fact, I would say it is better than fine.
For me, the purpose of meditation is to connect with our Creator and all of creation. There are many ways to strive toward this goal. Some people use a mindfulness approach and pay attention to their breath. Others repeat a mantra over and over. Other approaches involve the use of an affirmation. The words of the affirmation are repeated in order to evoke a feeling of peace and oneness.
As they say, “Different strokes for different folks.” Each individual must find her way to quiet the mind and go within. There are those who find their pets to be distractions (and this certainly may depend on the pet’s personality too.) But for those of us who have a deep relationship with our animals, making them part of the meditation practice can be meaningful and even helpful.
Pets Help Connect Us with the Divine
Here’s the way I look at it. Pets fill a hole in the lives of those who love animals. With their instinct to comfort and heal us, they demonstrate qualities that even humans sometimes lack. I believe that pets have such an effect because they help us maintain contact with the natural world; a connection which our modern lifestyles tend to eliminate.
Nature is infused with the divine. It is impossible for most people to study biology without developing a sense of awe for the beauty of the balance that is maintained in intricate, natural systems. Each of the trillions of cells of the body has a life of its own, and yet they all cooperate to function as a whole. Animals, plants, microorganisms, and inert materials have developed amazingly complicated relationships in every ecosystem in the world. Even the celestial bodies have an orderly rhythm that mystifies the human mind. All of creation is alive with a palpable, heavenly heartbeat.
With a purr, a nudge, a lick or a wag, our pets can reunite us with the mysteries of the universe. For me, connecting with a pet on a spiritual level is one way of connecting with the divine.
Here’s how it works for me. As my wife and I sit down to meditate in the morning, our pets jump on our laps. As I relax, I become aware of my breath. I imagine that God is breathing the “breath of life” into me. I realize that the same breath of life is flowing within my companion.
I envision the amazing underlying life force, Spirit, which is stirring within both our bodies. As I become more aware of my dog lying in my lap, I feel her warmth and I feel her chest rise and fall. I really connect with her by bringing to mind some special event we have shared. I remember that special feeling of closeness, and feel the compassion in my heart that I have for my pet.
I imagine this warm feeling of love expanding in my chest, and feel it overflow and embrace this special little being. I allow the love to continue to expand and imagine we are both floating in a sea of love. This feeling joins me with all of creation and I melt into the Oneness. I then enter the silence maintaining the feeling of oneness. My dog helps me anchor that feeling.
I would love to report that things happen just this way every day at my house but that would be a bit of a stretch. However, on those mornings when the stars are aligned, it is a beautiful thing.
Do you meditate? Do your pets participate?