Healing with Animals

“All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers is contained in the dog.” ~ Franz Kafka

The totality of all.  I would say this is by no means a small burden.  Yet, sometimes it can be the smallest, furriest, or the hungriest creatures that are able to remind us of the simplest lessons of life.

I have had the honor of meeting one of the wisest teachers of my time.  He was no sage, mystic, or savior.  Instead, he was a Guru.  And by Guru, I mean the name of my 15 lb. Shih Tzu who has taught me more than most of the people I have met.

I don’t think I have one photo where his tail is not a blur

Through him, I have discovered the limits of my ego, the depths of my compassion, and the extent of my selflessness (and selfishness).  I have watched as he has taken on my vibration and shown me my true self.  I have witnessed purity and innocence blossom and exist within a world of intention and agenda.  Like a blank canvas, I saw every brushstroke before it became a painting. I was able to trace each characteristic to its source.  Through his development and life, I was able to understand mine.

For many people, not just dog owners, animals unravel the mysteries of the human experience.  What is it about them that make the invisible visible?  How is it that my dog can teach me more about myself that I could possibly attempt to learn on my own?  I believe it stems from the flow of nature in all animals.  This pristine source of life uninfluenced by the forces that affect humans, is able to simplify the complexities of life.

An example of this simplification can be observed in the boy’s ranch.  These alternative youth programs designed to help troubled adolescent boys use the setting of a horse ranch to therapeutically heal its patients.  The actual therapy is accomplished through horses.

Each boy is assigned a horse.  For the next 6-12 months, the boy must take care of, groom, feed, and eventually ride his horse.  What has been found is that a relationship ensues that transcends the barriers of denial, fortitude, and resistance within the youth. After speaking with a few boys who have undergone this process, they described their experience with their horse as deeply communicative; the first time they were truly understood.

The horses are able to mirror the boys, reflexively communicating with them.  If the boys were holding back, their horse would also.  When the boys opened up so did their horses.  When the boys were honest with themselves, their horses began to act like horses.

An hour with this guy could heal any wound.

This healing nature exemplified by the horse is present in all animals.  It is even present in plants and trees.  The wild has served many in their quest for self understanding.

What is responsible for the inner transcendence? It is the universal connectivity that everything shares.  Quantum physicists named it the Unified Field, spiritual seekers call it enlightenment, religious folk call it God.  Whatever it is, it is present in all of us and is most easily understood through animals.

Their pureness and ability to continually stay present allow their channels of receptivity to respond to their environment in a completely reflective manner. This is why a horse can show a boy his problems.  This is why I have learned so much through my dog.

It is by no divine luck that we are so fortunate to be graced with such heavenly companions.  Unconditional love pours from their panting faces and we are blessed with their light heartedness and presence.  Many people think it would be disastrous to be reincarnated as an animal, but when I look into the eyes of my dog, I see that he knows God better than I do.

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Guru

Meet Guru.  Eight weeks young and full of life.  We have only had him for two days now and I have completely fallen in love.  I am so consumed by his amazing energy that I cannot even fathom another topic to write about.  He is a Shih Tzu and is very adventurous.  He is bold, playful, very smart, and loves milk.  He makes the entire apartment come to life and does the same to everyone he meets.

It is incredible the power a young puppy has over the emotions of random people. My girl friend and I took Guru for a short walk around the neighborhood — it was as if Guru was strolling down the red carpet of a Hollywood premier — and everyone had something to say.  For the first time in a while, I remembered the uncanny ability animals had for evoking purely genuine responses.  The reactions to Guru told me so much about the people we met.  Their emotions ranged from sheer happiness to bitter jealousy to even being threatened.  I was in awe at the cathartic abilities a 3 and a half pound being had over the minds of random people.  This pure, innocent puppy was eliciting unfiltered responses from an otherwise layered and protected world.  It was as if his identity of absolute truthfulness made it impossible for others to act insincerely.

It made me think.  Does absolute truth always summon absolute truth?  If so, how can we as humans create a world where everyone is held accountable based on the principles of truth and authenticity?  My answer starts within.  As I purify my identity, I will encourage others to do the same.  Leading by example will always trump preaching.  I hope that when you read any of my blogs, the candor of my words reigns more powerful than the content.  Writing is of course the art of sincerity and its power lies in the writer’s ability to genuinely transfer his or her thoughts into vocabulary.  The more I write from my heart, the more content I am with my writings.  I also see it fit that the truer I am with my self, the more integral the people in my life become.  Creating a community of integrity and love – which is the same as absolute truth – starts with the self and will spread to others.  Changing the world has never had such grass-root beginnings.

And just for the record, the happiest person Guru and I met was a man who made his living collecting other people’s recyclables.  His smile was as big as guru.