The holidays are nearly upon us, with all their demands on our time and attention. Dogs and cats, through their close connection to us, are aware of and deeply affected by the stress we endure. When we are stressed, our animals are stressed. Meditation can help.
If you can put yourself in the right frame of mind ahead of time, you can more easily avoid or at least lessen the impact of the stress you’re sure to encounter in the busy weeks ahead. Meditation is one of the easiest, most immediate ways to achieve a calm and peaceful state of mind. It is widely known for its healing benefits. In the words of Deepak Chopra, an MD known for his study of mind/body/spirit connections to health: “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” In doing so, you can help yourself, and in helping yourself, you will help your dog or cat.
When you meditate, you find an inner state of calm and stillness that can bring you back to your true self – the part that exists above and beyond the stresses in your life. The purpose of meditating with your animal is to create a space of calm and peace within yourself, and in doing so, invite your animal to join you there. Our animals, simply by their presence, can often help calm us as well. They are great meditation assistants!
SETTING THE SCENE
• To prepare for meditation, choose a space in your home near your animal where you will not be disturbed by anyone else. You may place yourself next to your dog or cat, or across the room from him – anywhere in the near vicinity is perfect. Try not to pick him up or disturb him; just find a place where he can approach you and climb into your lap if he wishes.
• Find a comfortable position, sitting on the floor or in a chair. Make sure your spine is straight, and your shoulders, arms and legs are relaxed. Rest your hands palms up or palms down (whichever you prefer) on your lap.
• Close your eyes and take a nice, deep cleansing breath. As you breathe in through your nose, imagine light, healing energy flowing in and filling your body. As you exhale, imagine all your stresses releasing and flowing out of you. Repeat this breath two to three times.
• Place your hands, palms together, in front of your chest. Set the intention that you are open to receive healing, peace and relaxation for yourself, and that you are willing to facilitate this healing, peace and relaxation for your animal as well, in whatever ways he is open to receive. You may return your hands to your lap, or keep them palms together during the meditation.
THREE PATHS TO PEACE
One you have prepared and set your intention, you are ready to begin. Try one of the following meditations:
1 INNER SANCTUARY: Visualize a physical place in your life – a sanctuary – that brings you the most peace and calm. Let yourself imagine all the details of the place, engaging your fi ve senses as you do so. How does this place look, what colors do you see, what do you hear, and how does it smell, taste and feel? See yourself there and allow your heart and emotions to reach out and bask in the tangible peace of this sanctuary. Imagine your very being surrounded in healing light, just by visualizing this special place. Feel peace and calm resonating throughout your whole being as you continue the visualization for five to 15 minutes.
2 GRATITUDE AFFIRMATION: Sit with the words “I feel gratitude; each day is a precious gift” inside your heart and body for several minutes. Allow your mind to think about all the people, animals, places and situations in your life for which you are grateful. Feel the meaning and truth of gratitude permeate your whole being – body, mind, emotions and spirit. When you feel encompassed in gratitude, offer it as a gentle, loving bridge of light from your heart to your animal’s heart. Remember to include all the feelings that go with the word. Continue holding the affirmation for several more minutes.
3 CIRCLE OF HEALING: As you sit, visualize your heart as a rose blooming with healing white light. Imagine this rose is composed of perfect peace, balance and harmony. Feel this light gradually spread throughout your body. After several minutes, see the energy of your animal’s heart, and those of other family members, human and animal, as a beautiful rose of healing white light located within the center of their being. Visualize serenity and peace surrounding their heart energy and then connect their hearts with yours in one healing circle of light. Visualize this unified heart as perfectly in balance, at peace, connected and completely healed. Hold this visualization in your mind for several more minutes.
Connecting to your animal through meditation is easy, fun and beneficial for you both. Although stressful situations like the holidays may be unavoidable, responding with stress and upset don’t have to be. Preparing yourself ahead of time by spending time every day with your dog or cat in meditations of peace, gratitude and healing is a great way to embrace the positive, no matter what stressors come your way. Try it and see – your companion will enjoy it too!