Meditating with Your Pets

photoIf you have both a regular meditation practice and pets, you’ve probably noticed how pets gravitate toward your practice area or to you while you’re engaged in meditation.

My house rabbits have free run, and I allow them in my meditation room, although when I am formally practicing I try to let the pitter-patter of their feet come into and out of my awareness.

But outside of my formal sittings I’ve discovered a way to informally practice with the buns. “Let’s sit together,” is what I often say to my rabbits when I want to sit on the floor and pet them, and simply enjoy their presence. We don’t watch TV or do anything else. We just sit together, two (or three) beings simply sitting in loving awareness.

I’ve come to see this sitting together as part of my spiritual practice. Sitting with the bunnies is an invitation to practice mindfulness, to practice being in the present moment, to be ‘in love’.

Sitting quietly with my pets allows me to contemplate beauty, ponder the diversity of creation, love unconditionally, and experience gratitude, all qualities I want to cultivate in my life.

Sometimes I observe our breathing, noticing our different rhythms yet connected through a dance of moments, of in-breaths and out-breaths. With time the breath seems to synchronize as we both settle deeper into meditative states. If I’ve been petting or massage them I can stop moving my hands and rest in simple touch. Just breathing, just being.

One of the great things about meditating with your pets is that they become constant reminders of that mindful state. Whenever a rabbit goes hopping by, it’s a moment for me to pause and appreciate joy and love.

If you don’t have pets of your own, go out into Nature and simply observe animals. Sit on a park bench and allow your awareness to include the movements and sounds of birds. Lie on the grass and peer into the insect world underfoot. Consider the interconnectedness of all beings, the essence of One.

Whether we’re practicing formally or informally, we exude a loving, peaceful energy when we meditate, an energy that our pets are drawn to and that can heal this world.

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