In recent years when I fostered a dog, I wish that I had practiced mindfulness. If we desire calm and centered pets, then we need to show up as calm and centered humans. If we are ungrounded, suffering from anxiety, or hyperactive, then our pets mirror that back to us. And it’s not enough to seek a trainer or even an animal communicator, if we aren’t practicing mindfulness.
The first thing to come to mind for some readers of this article is, “But I don’t have time to meditate.” Or, “I’ve tried that mindfulness stuff and it doesn’t work.” However, a misconception exist that connects mindfulness to only people who practice sit-down meditation or even walking meditation. We don’t have to become a master meditator or a yoga practitioner to hone mindfulness. We just need to be willing to show up in this moment and observe our behavior.
My definition of mindfulness is more along the lines of spiritual evolution in the everyday world. We don’t need to travel to an ashram or attend a silent Buddhist retreat. However, picking up books with tips or mindfulness couldn’t hurt. Mindfulness for me is that we check in with the sensations in our physical body and our emotions often. We realize that others behavior, including the behaviors of our pets act as mirrors to our own consciousness.
Does this mean we never hire a communicator, trainer or consult with an animal behavior expert? Of course not. It means that we take care of our end of the situation and take responsibility for our attitudes and behaviors when we are with our pets. Animal behavior experts and trainers help the us humans and animals correct course.
Personally, I’ve seen little mindfulness when I witness people interacting with their pets. And I wonder if these guardians of the pets even realize that their creatures are sentient beings capable of deep thoughts, a rainbow of emotions, and who possess the ability to teach us to live better lives.
So, here are tips to becoming more mindful and through the mindfulness bonding deeper with animals.
Remember that animals are not human.
They represent the attributes of their own species. They see, sense, hear, and respond to the world differently than humans. For instance a dog or a cat sees the world from four-legs and not standing upright on two legs (yes, I know this is obvious but people forget this fact).
Animals are empathic and hypersensitive
Turning the volume up on the TV, computer, or music-listening device, stomping through the house, slamming doors, or raising your voice might as well be a volcanic eruption as far as the animals are concerned.
Not realizing that animals have sensitive nervous system, acute hearing, and a different way of perceiving the world is not practicing mindfulness. We must show the animals the same respect and to honor their sensitive bodies. Otherwise, we end up with an anxious, aggressive, or depressed pet. (If your pet is showing those signs, also seek medical attention for them).
And yet, I have witnessed dogs stuffed into a backseat of a car where the driver cranked the stereo (and even when the car is a few blocks away I can still here the booming bass). Now, if we are looking at the human consciousness scale this behavior is nowhere close to mindfulness. This is torture to a canine even when their human thinks the animal is smiling in the backseat of the car.
But even people arguing in front of an animal (and most of us have done this) causes the animal to cower, hide under furniture or show signs of anxiety such as yawning out of context, over licking the lips, trembling, or pacing.
Mindfulness means that we become aware of our emotions and behaviors. We take responsibility for our emotions and our mental processes by seeking help from a mental health professional when needed. Or we can learn mindfulness practices. And one of the best ways to become more mindful is actually to study and get attuned to Reiki. That’s what helped me become more mindful.
Learn about normal and anxious behaviors in your pet. This will be different depending on the type of animal. Tune into your pet’s body and emotions (this takes practice). Ask the animal what he or she needs to feel safe, secure, and loved.
If you meditate, invite the cat, dog, or other animal to meditate with you. If you practice self-Reiki, your pet will join you (more often than not) because it feels good for them.
Clear away any strong fragrances from your home and this includes incense and aromatherapy oils that are toxic to cats and dogs (long lists). Open your windows periodically to allow fresh air into your home (dogs love this). When you take your dog for a walk, once in a while allow the dog to lead the way. Honor your pet when they want their alone time (learn the body languages that alert you to this).
My theory is if humans become more mindful, live more in the moment, clean up toxins (including audio and air pollution), and learn animal behavior, our pets are less likely to become anxious or depressed. I believe that they will also act less aggressive (unless the aggression is attached to medical issues).
When we are calm and centered the animals feels secure around us. True leadership is mindfulness. And while we won’t become a master at mindfulness overnight, even taking steps towards the practice helps us bond more deeply with humans and non-humans. Isn’t that the reason we opened our homes to animal companions in the first place?
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