“May we Learn to Return and Rest in the Beauty of Animal Being”

Man with dog in the woods

“The presence of the natural world is a direct path to personal healing and collective transformation…” – Dr. Linda Bender

In her online course last year, wildlife vet Linda Bender spoke with several thought leaders on the relationship between spirituality, healing and nature. My own part was speaking about the healing quality of connecting with animals, using stories to share what I have learned from the animals I have lived with.

At a time when we are overwhelmed with information, we have no frame of reference with which to organize all this information and make coherent sense of it for our lives. For that, we have to go back to the ground from where we came, from which we ourselves were organized—nature. Our Earth. From there, we can begin to separate the wheat from the chaff—see what is truly important and nourishing, what is life enhancing, and what is noise and distraction. Animals are a portal for us into this grounding, connection, and healing.

One participant asked why spiritual connection with animals is necessary. Linda’s response was that emotional and spiritual connection are the same thing. That an ever-deepening bond of love brings us to the deeper truth of who we are: spiritual beings. My own addition to this is that through that connection, information flows, enriching us, calming us, and helping us find our place in the world rather than leaving us feeling unrooted or disconnected. Connection is necessary for our physical, emotional and spiritual survival. Disconnection is the source of the massive surge in anxiety and depression, and why so many feel helpless and hopeless to take action. Connection gives us strength and support, enhances our creative responses, and give us joy. Connection gives us the community we need to thrive.

During the conversation, Linda shared the following poem as an expression of how that connection can change us.

To Learn From Animal Being

by John O’Donohue

Nearer to the earth’s heart,

Deeper within its silence:

Animals know this world

In a way we never will.

We who are ever

Distanced and distracted

By the parade of bright

Windows thought opens:

Their seamless presence

Is not fractured thus.

Stranded between time

Gone and time emerging,

We manage seldom

To be where we are:

Whereas they are always

Looking out from

The here and now.

May we learn to return

And rest in the beauty

Of animal being,

Learn to lean low,

Leave our locked minds,

And with freed senses

Feel the earth

Breathing with us.

May we enter

Into lightness of spirit,

And slip frequently into

The feel of the wild.

Let the clear silence

Of our animal being

Cleanse our hearts

Of corrosive words.

May we learn to walk

Upon the earth

With all their confidence

And clear-eyed stillness

So that our minds

Might be baptized

In the name of the wind

And light and the rain.

From: To Bless the Space Between Us

You can listen to the podcast here.

For more information, visit LindaBender.org.

For more remarkable courses you can go to nuralearning.com.

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