I love meditating with animals! I say this with great joy and enthusiasm because in the past, I had a teacher who told her students that animals will draw energy away from you and disrupt your mediation if they are in the same room. Well, this teacher also says that we should take what resonates and leave the rest behind. I choose to leave far behind her limiting belief about meditating with animals!
I have practiced meditation my entire life. As a child, I didn’t know that I was meditating. I was simply going to a quiet place to withdraw deep inside myself to avoid a crowded and chaotic household. We weren’t permitted pets, except for fish and the occasional hamster so my favorite place to retreat in mind and body was the small greenhouse that my father had built to grow orchids. In this beautiful space, the only animals were insects. Oh and Charlie, a clam my mother had brought back from Lake Erie and kept in a bucket. It was never clear what Charlie ate, but he grew bigger over time. I felt bad for Charlie, stuck in that small home that wasn’t home. But I was a kid and I didn’t pay much attention to Charlie or the insects. They weren’t warm and fuzzy and I couldn’t hold one close at night to help me sleep.
Fast forward a few decades. I now live on a small piece of property with four horses, six dogs, and ten cats. All of the dogs and cats were strays or rescues who chose to share their lives with my husband and me. We are fortunate to back up to a national park and over 100 acres of conserved woods, with a running stream and a pond that serves as a watering hole for wildlife and a swimming pool for the horses and Kensi, a border collie.
I love to sit by the pond for meditation, and am usually accompanied by Kensi. She will take a dip, shower me with pond water, and settle down in the grass. Kensi’s presence is comforting and relaxing and it is easier to fall deeper into meditation feeling her energy merging with mine. On a recent afternoon, practicing a homework assignment for Leah’s Animal Reiki for Reiki Practitioner’s class, I began a meditation by the pond, starting with the Joshin Kokyu and adding the Three Diamonds meditation. The Three Diamonds meditation brings so much peace. It becomes a beautiful moving meditation in which I easily lose myself.
Prior to beginning the meditation session, I spent time observing the surroundings. A large turtle lounged sunbathing on a log that extends out into, but above, the water. I set an intention to invite Turtle to join me. I began with Gassho, giving thanks for the day, the spring that feeds the pond, the dragonflies and other wildlife that share this space with me. I then practiced Joshin Kokyu Ho for some time, noticing that our barn cat, Lady, and Kensi had chosen to join me, lying a few yards away in the grass within the space created by my practice. Floating on Lady’s rythmic purr it was easy to fall deeper into meditation and gently transitioned to Three Diamonds. I felt the world dropping away, and yet was more acutely aware of the subtle sounds of dragonfly wings, a breeze blowing through the trees, the splash of a fish jumping. I found my breath syncing to the movements of my hands and felt myself moving even deeper inward.
I became aware of a gentle, patient and wise presence. Turtle had joined me with a message. He said, I am one with the earth. I am one with the water. I am one with the air. I am in these elements and these elements are in me. I am in balance.
I felt another presence, light and fluttering. Dragonfly said, I am one with the sky, I am one with the air, I am one with the water reeds. I am in balance.
Stillness overcame my mind and body and I sat, absorbing the messages and feeling so grateful for Turtle and Dragonfly. Slowly I returned to present, feeling the sentience of the beings around me. I don’t know how long I sat, deep inside myself but at the same time open and part of the world around me. Returning gently to awareness, filled with peace, I gave thanks to Turtle, Dragonfly, Kensi and Lady.
I was in balance.