Try taking a few moments to slow down next time you are with a companion animal and simply be with it. Focusing without expectations, you may notice your thoughts quieting down. You may experience a sense of wonder, as you deepen your connection with your friend. Touching their skin or fur, you may notice your heart opening. You may even notice a smile appearing, as you let gratitude fill your heart.
Companion animals are gifts of awareness. Being in the presence of a cat or dog love can bring us alive to the present moment. As they love us unconditionally, we might learn to do the same for ourselves. Their playfulness can invite us in, and their aging can remind us of ours.
They also teach us about ourselves in other ways – when we are paying attention. Our four-legged and winged live-in companions are so completely dependent on us for food, shelter and loving care that we have opportunities every day to feel our openness or resistance in responding to their needs. We might even notice the difference between our ease in caring for them compared to people in our life, and sincerely wonder what that’s all about!
Feeling the blessing of the animal life in our care can certainly be a gift of awareness.