Animals As Spiritual Heroes
By Linda and Allen Anderson
The lighter touch of an animal’s heroism is something people might not so easily appreciate. Dramatic stories of pets saving lives, detecting cancer, doing math, and using tools, are wonderful and make great newspaper headlines, but we like to point out that animals are also heroes of a different kind. Who is more of a hero than an animal who has become your best friend, your companion, your reason to come home?
The animals who live with humans day after day help people to become more loving and compassionate. These animals are angelic instruments and messengers who stimulate spiritual growth. When you share your home with animals, their spiritual natures can enlighten you in ways that you may not recognize. Although it is said jokingly, after living with animals, you may, in fact, become the terrific person that your dog thinks you are.
Letting go, being non-judgmental and serving as a pure vehicle of divine love and light are noble goals. But how often do people tangle themselves in daily office gossip, in feuding, or creating family messes? Unlike animals who are guided by instincts of the heart, people allow their minds to run the show. There is a simple, often overlooked solution to the human tendency to slide into spiritual mud holes. An easy way to restore your spiritual viewpoint is to listen to your cat and act like your dog!
Repeatedly we have found in our own human-animal family, our beloved pets teach us the spiritual qualities we forget when daily life becomes too hectic and overscheduled. How blessed we are to have animals in our home who remind us to slow down and remember that life isn’t all about to-do lists.
The Quietest Teacher
Our dog, Taylor, shows us how to love unconditionally with her tail-wagging, winsome ways. Our bird, Sunshine, teaches vigilance with his calls that alert us when someone comes near the house. Speedy, our older cat, demonstrates exquisite patience as he waits for exactly the right moment to jump on an empty lap. The queen of spiritual teachers in our household, though, is our cat Cuddles. She displays such wisdom that we felt obligated to give her an advice column in our book Angel Cats. She gladly obliged with the “Ask Cuddles” article at the end of each chapter.
We marvel at how unobtrusively Cuddles lends her cat energy to each of our projects and to us. Cuddles occupies favorite places on Linda’s desk and above Allen’s computer from where she watches as we work. For example, to make corrections for the latest manuscript, Linda prints out and carefully lays each note about an error or addition in a cardboard box labeled “Corrections.” No matter how many other places there are for Cuddles to sit, she always curls up on top of the pages that need edits as if she is letting us know that this is an important task. With her attention on the corrections box, Cuddles conveys the spiritual truth that we must always give our best to every project if we want them to be vehicles for Divine Spirit.
Each night, Cuddles sits on our bed with her back straight up, her hind legs splayed out in front of her, and her front legs in a guru-style position over her stomach. Looking like a little Buddha, she surveys the room. This funny posture for a cat makes us laugh but also opens our hearts with love. The spiritual lesson that Cuddles teaches before bedtime is now we must shake off the cares and concerns of the day and enter lightly and sweetly into dreamland for the repair and healing that occurs there.
A Bird Who Taught Detachment
Birds, too, demonstrate valuable spiritual lessons, such as living each moment fully without expectations.
Nancy Miller lives with six parakeets and four cats. She works in the area of aura photography, astrology, astrocartography, and numerology reports. Nancy wrote to us to share an experience she had with her parakeet, Summer. The bird helped her to understand the wisdom of letting go.
Nancy says that Summer had a tumor on her belly that was growing huge. The veterinarian believed that the tumor was probably cancerous. He said that Summer could pass away any day or live for a long time, but surgery would be too dangerous of an option for the bird.
“Summer didn’t seem to think that there was anything wrong,” Nancy says. “Sometimes she had trouble reaching the perch or swing with both feet because of the size of the tumor, and flying didn’t always go as planned with all that extra weight. Yet she continued to act like a happy, healthy bird — eating, singing, playing, and getting around as well as she could. I changed the food dishes in her cage to ones that were easy for her to get into and filled her water dish a little higher to make it easier for her to drink.”
As time passed, Nancy noticed that the bird’s tumor was getting larger and larger. Summer was in Nancy’s prayers each day, and she prayed for the “highest and best good of all to happen.” Nancy was letting go and not trying to tell God what to do but was pure in her prayfulness. Her detachment had an interesting outcome.
Nancy says, “I have a friend who does wonderful healing work on both a physical and spiritual level. She worked with Summer to make her more comfortable. Always, I communicated to Summer that it would be okay for her to cross the Rainbow Bridge, if she wanted to do that.” (The Rainbow Bridge is the legendary place where our animal companions are said to wait for us. When we die, we join them at the Rainbow Bridge and cross it together into heaven.)
Each day when Nancy took the cover off of Summer’s cage, she expected to see the bird on the bottom of it. One morning she saw a lot of blood on the bottom of the cage, but Summer was sitting on her swing, as usual. “I thought it was the end but it wasn’t,” Nancy says.
Sometime after that, Nancy noticed that Summer’s tumor was getting smaller. Eventually it completely fell off as a little brown lump. This lump, instead of Summer, was what landed at the bottom of the birdcage.
“I feel that the combination of prayer and the process of letting go of Summer on an emotional and spiritual level allowed her to heal,” Nancy concluded.
Learning to pray without having an end result in mind but to let it be, let go, and in effect, be a vehicle of unconditional love for what is best for that soul seemed to be the keys for allowing Summer to heal. Summer’s example of willingness to fully live each day, with or without the tumor, helped Nancy to gain the heightened spiritual viewpoint of loving detachment.
What are the animals, acting as angels, doing to help you gain enlightenment? How are they serving as spiritual heroes who grace your life with their examples?
Allen and Linda Anderson are founders of the Angel Animals Network and authors
of New World Library books, “Angel Dogs,” “Angel Cats,” “God’s Messengers,”
“Rainbows & Bridges: An Animal Companion Memorial Kit,” and “RESCUED: Saving
Animals from Disaster.” Subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week at
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