“Years ago a friend took me to a talk offered by her spiritual teacher. I remember this because the topic of the evening was unconditional love. The teacher began by talking about the nature of pets. Years later I can still remember his definition of a pet: ‘A little tuft of consciousness that circles around a person like a moon around a planet, and completes their energy field making them more whole.’
….Perhaps pets are a little tuft of Divine consciousness, and by offering us a taste of the great Love, which is the foundation of this imperfect and impermanent world, they heal us in ways that are profound. And in some powerful and mysterious way even the youngest and smallest of them can kindle an echo of this Divine love in us as well.
…Perhaps our pets are such high beings, dharma teachers who have almost fulfilled their Karmic mission over lifetimes and whose hearts through generations of learning and practice have been made able to love unconditionally. Perhaps this is what makes our dogs or cats capable of loving us as they do and able to evoke in us a love more unconditional than that we offer one another. I sometimes wonder when I meet a dog out on a walk, if I am in the presence of a spiritual teacher who is serving the person on the other end of the leash.
….Unconditional love is a high spiritual state. It does not mean infinite forgiveness; it means the perception that there is nothing to forgive. It is love beyond approval (a form of judgment) and love beyond criticism (another form of judgment.) It is the capacity to love so profoundly that it is without expectation but only deep appreciation of a uniqueness in each one of us that makes all comparisons meaningless. It is the recognition of the one soul that is our essential self.
If all the people now alive and the people who have ever lived were gathered together in the dark, your dog or your cat would be able to find you “Aha!” you say, “this is because of their keen sense of smell.” But what if it was something far more profound than that, the capacity to see the unique essence that is who you truly are? What if they know us, not by a sense of smell, but a capacity of their enlightened hearts?”
With thanks to Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
(excerpt from her posting at July 3rd, 2014)