Some practices in the Let Animals Lead program connect us to the light of the sun and the moon. Meditating on these celestial bodies has inspired me to consider the ways nature shows us the light.
The sun generates light, so when we bring the sun into our meditation it reminds us that we, too, generate light. All of the Let Animals Lead meditations help us to nurture our inner light and keep it bright. When we are able to become a beacon of gentle light, animals will be drawn to us and to a healing space of compassion and love. Through all three levels of the Let Animals Lead program we learn how to keep ourselves centered and balanced so that our own light can shine.
In contrast to the sun, the moon reflects light. When we bring the moon into our meditation it reminds us to welcome in the light around us and reflect it far and wide. We learn how to radiate the light in the Let Animals Lead program through the precepts, the pillars, the symbols, the guidelines, and the meditations. For example, the Reiki Space Meditation (Joshin Kokyu Ho) teaches us how to breathe in the light and then expand it outward into the universe as we exhale.
As I thought about how the sun generates light and the moon reflects it, I invited in animal totems that embodied bioluminescence (firefly) and iridescence (dragonfly).
Iridescence refers to a “refraction of light waves” (Merriam-Webster). When we see iridescent feathers of a peacock or hummingbird, or the wings of a butterfly or dragonfly, we see how the light keeps changing the brightness of the reflected colors. I experienced this not long ago when I was asked to offer Animal Reiki to an elderly Brazilian Rainbow Boa named Pele who was having difficulty climbing in his enclosure. I was amazed to see how Pele’s iridescent scales glowed purple in the sunlight. The entire length of him was surrounded in purple light as he moved. It was absolutely mesmerizing. With iridescent animals, we are drawn not just to the beauty of the colors, but that glimpse of flashing light. It reminds us of the energy and intensity that exists in even the slightest light, like that from feathers or scales or the waning sliver of the moon.
Bioluminescence is the “emission of light from a living organism” (Merriam-Webster). It can occur in marine creatures, plants, fungi, worms, insects and even some bacteria. Some naturalists and researchers refer to bioluminescence as “living light.” (For example, David Attenborough refers to “living light” in his fascinating program about the extensive networks of glowing underground fungi.)
I love this term “living light” in the context of Animal Reiki. For those animals that are bioluminescent, living light is a state of being. But all the light animals show us, or that we see in nature, can be considered a state of being. It is a natural part of their existence. For humans, we have forgotten this innate light and our Animal Reiki meditations remind us to both welcome in the light and nurture our own light. For us, the term “living light” can be a description of our being and an action. In other words, it is what we are and what we strive to do: be the light, live the light.
While animals can show us literal light, such as bioluminescence and iridescence, they also connect us to a deeper spiritual light. I vividly recall one day that I was completely distracted with to-do lists and preparing for my workday until I suddenly stopped and gasped. My beloved yellow rescue canary, Weeble, was sitting near a window and he was literally glowing in the sunlight. The sun wasn’t just making him bright, the light was enhancing his color and passing between the barbs of his feathers to create a halo around him. The effect was so powerful and beautiful that I was breathless for a moment and just stood watching him bask in the sun. He was completely present in the moment and experiencing the joy of the light. Weeble was a bright beacon for me in that moment, and seeing the peace that came with being present in the light was truly inspiring.
Animals remind us every day of the light. When we feel that beautiful moment of deep connection with an animal, we feel the light. We practice our meditations so that we can reflect and shine the light for them; in turn, we gratefully accept the light they offer to us. The more we open ourselves to seeing all the light around us, even the subtlest glow, the more we are able to welcome in and nurture the light within us.
Eventually we come to realize that there is no difference between generating and reflecting light, or inner and outer light. It is all one light. By simply remembering that we are all connected by one light, we can connect even deeper with animals. We can be luminous and bright for our animals, for wildlife, and for all of nature. All light connects us and leads us to oneness. Animals already know this, but they shine bright every day, in so many ways, to remind us.
By SARA Practitioner Lisa Pichnarcik