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October 30, 2008

Fostering a Spiritual Connection with Animals

The Humane Society of the United States

Has an animal influenced your faith? Contributors to The Francis Files share their stories.

by Megan Blake 

Animals show us how to connect on a deep level, and remind us to connect with ourselves.   

How do some of us have this innate connection? 

Some experience it as an epiphany later in life, and others never realize its spiritual growth value. Those who have this connection can only share experiences in hopes of awakening others to this deeply inter-linked universe.

My first memories are of being drawn to animals, any animals—other people's pets and horses in a field. It was as if I was drawn to a grounded ancient connection that ran deeper than what human beings offered. My doting parents were loving and attentive, but when I looked into animals' eyes, it was as though I looked into past eyes of wisdom toward lessons waiting to be revealed and remembered. 

As I grew into childhood, I got my first cat, Kitty Boo, and dog, Blackie, and on my ninth Christmas, Santa gave me my life's dream: a white pony named Silkie. Life was complete!

However, this fantasy quickly dematerialized when my perfect companion turned out to be barn-sour, stubborn and mean. As a child, the next two years of struggle seemed like 200 years of study in the arts of patience, listening and respecting the ways of "others."  By listening to her subtle cues and communicating within this silence, the deepest of bonds appeared, as though we were somehow energetically linked.

We became a team and won ribbons and trophies together. When an award was bestowed on Silkie, she would arch her neck and prance—so proud. She knew!

Nowhere else in the world could I have obtained this education in patience, respect, listening and ethics. Parents, teachers, clergy and society's role models teach us well, but when we bond and learn from animals, it seems the lessons run deeper than where we as humans can take ourselves. 

It is as if other creatures can take us out of ourselves so we can more clearly see who and where we are. There is a purity of spirit that teaches purely. We get a clearer view of where we are going and, in turn, the possibilities of where we can go.

Silkie's lessons continued on even more subtle levels. As I rode her bare-back through the lush Florida pine and palmetto swamplands, I was taken into a land of silence—silence from our worldly noises, but filled with new sounds of buzzing insects, the swish of lizards and snakes through the underbrush and the thud of Silkie's little hooves on the soft ground. 

I developed a new way of listening. 

I would "feel" descriptive phrases of the beauty surrounding me and "hear" poetic pieces about the nature engulfing me. It never occurred to me to write any of this down, as to me this was a natural part of immersing oneself in nature. It was not until my adulthood that I learned that people don't just "hear" poetry. So, I began recording the poems as part of The Poem Catcher collection. 

I know I would have never been exposed to this world had it not been for the subtle lessons in listening given to me by Kitty Boo and Blackie and then, later, through my advanced studies with Silkie. 

Animals teach us to connect on a deep level and remind us to connect with ourselves.

The "caught" poems might come from my subconscious, or God or "the Muses." Who knows? What I do know is that animals can be our teachers and can enlighten our paths if we listen to what they have to teach.

Megan Blake has rescued animals all her life, is an actress, media pet spokesperson, the co-author (with her cat) of the book series, "The Adventures of Tout Suite The Travel Kitty", and is Host of and a Pet Expert on "Animal Attractions TV." The author resides in Malibu, Calif.

Do you have a story to share? Submit your story and we may share it with our readers. The opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Humane Society of the United States.

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