Connecting with Animals

In Linda Bender’s book “Animal Wisdom: Learning from the Spiritual Lives of Animals” she describes the ability to communicate with animals a natural skill that humans have lost touch with. Talking about communicating with animals, Linda said:

There is nothing supernatural or paranormal about it.

If this is a skill we were inherent to have, why wouldn’t we want to utilize this skill?

Another potential benefit of learning to communicate with animals, is that not only are you learning to think through another language, but think as another species does. In personal development and unfoldment, humans and our strong egos benefit greatly from stretching ourselves to experience life from different perspectives other than our own.

Linda explained in her book that all creation exists from the same source. When people learn to think from different perspectives of others, we are learning to exist more completely from the source.

We all exist in the one mind of the Source, divine consciousness. It is what all creatures have in common. Though I appear drastically different from an elephant in outward form, insofar as we are both manifestations of the divine mind, we are made of exactly the same stuff. […] Love creates alignment with all creation. Once I connect with that, the correstponding part of another being lies open to me. I don’t have to go looking for it. I simply recognize it […]

The below exercises are either summarizes or directly quoted from “Animal Wisdom” by Linda Bender

downloadPractice 1: The wildlife photographer

The first step in learning to connect with the spirits on animals is to connect to the divine within yourself. To do so, you need to quiet the mundane chatter of your mind and bring your attention into the present moment.

Find a quiet place outdoors where you can be both comfortable and alert. Exmagine when you exhale you are creating a blanket of silence. Whenever you notice that your thoughts are becoming noisy, bring your attention to your out-breath to cancel the sound of them. The object here is to quiet the mind rarther than to empty it entirely. See if the creatives around you are undisturbed by your presence and emboldened to come closer to you than they normally would come to a human being.

downloadPractice 2: Bringing your attention to the present

A quality all animals have in common is that their attention is completely focused on whatever they are doing in the present. They don’t make plans for the future or dwell on what happened in the past.

i) Eat a meal the way an animal does, concentrating on the act of eating without doing anything else. Experience the meal with all your senses.

ii) Animals experience the world directly through the physical senses, and many of them are gifted with senses that are more acute than ours. Choose one of your physical senses and spend 5 minutes experiencing your environment with that sense alone. Practice this exercise both indoors and outdoors and try different senses on different occasions.

iii) If you have a dog, go for a walk together, letting the dog set the pace and choose the direction. Focus your attention entirely on what interests your dog from moment to moment. Try to keep the leash loose, so that neither you nor your dog experience any tugging or jerking. Think of the leash as a symbol of connection with your dog.

downloadPractice 3:  Animal consciousness

If you’d like a taste of what animal consciousness is like, here’s a simple exercise you can try. Close your eyes for a moment and bring your awareness inside. Experience the rhythm of your breathing and what other bodily sensations are happening at the moment. Then open your eyes. Look out at the world. Simply let your eyes absorb whatever is in front of them. Experience that first flash of attention – the pure attention that occurs before you go on to name what you perceive or to form various thoughts about it.

downloadPractice 4: Opening the heart

Once the mind is quiet and attentive, the next thing to do is open your heart. We are most likely to feel that our hearts are open when we feel warm, expansive and loving.

What kindles an open heart for you? What image? What memory? Find a thread that gives you a strong connection to a sense of love. Try to extend the feeling from this connection into your daily life.

downloadPractice 5: Sending images

Animals think in pictures and feelings.  When they want to connect with you, the most natural way for them to do so is by sending a mental image, a feeling, or both.

The best way to learn what animal messages are like is to practice sending such messages yourself before attempting to receive any. The “languages” animals use instead of words are languages that humans use too. We’re just not accustomed to relying on them.

If you have an animal companion, when you want them to do something, try imagining that you are communicating to them over a telepathic airwave and send them a mental image of your animal companion doing what you want them to do, maybe for a cat to sit on your lap.

You can also do this with feelings. When you want to tell your companion dog that you are pleased, feel that feeling in your body, them imagine you are sending it to your dog. Your animal probably already knows what your feeling anyway, but the important point here is to practice deliberately sending.

If you don’t have an animal companion, try sending “picture postcards” to the animals outdoors of the sort of things that might interest them. Send a bee a picture of a garden with lots of flowers to pollinate.

downloadPractice 6: Inviting an animal to exchange with you

Begin by quieting your mind and putting your heart in a receptive place. Send out the message that you are open to receiving from an animal, whatever animal may come to you. Don’t try to hard or have big expectations. Also expect that even if you do pick up on a message from an animal, because of their cryptic nature, you may doubt it. This takes practice.

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