an Enlightened World
By Allen and Linda Anderson
In her book, The Bonesetter's
Daughter, author Amy Tan writes, "I was like a turtle
lying on its back, struggling to know why the world was upside
down." How likely is it that much of the world is like
that turtle, trying to view the complex animal-human relationship
from a perspective that only yields false results?
In an enlightened world the veil would be lifted, and golden threads that connect all life
would become visible.
In an enlightened world you would communicate easily with species that have lived on this
earth longer than people, can move about it more freely, and
view life in an entirely unique way. Animals would become a
valued resource for decision-making, health, and happiness.
In an enlightened world there
would be no doubt that the souls of animals survive death and
move on into an afterlife. You would be comforted in the knowledge
that you'll be reunited with those who have placed their indelible
paw prints upon your heart.
Even though you personally
may be enlightened about your spiritual connection with animals,
unfortunately we're not living in an enlightened world--yet.
In our opinion future generations
will look back on our modern-day era and ask, "Can you
believe back then people actually didn't know that animals are
souls?" Our cultures will seem as primitive as previous
periods in history when one class, society, clan, or tribe looked
down on, treated cruelly, or subjugated another and justified
their actions with the viewpoint that the enslaved had no feelings,
no ability to care for themselves or to make choices, no awareness,
no souls. Today's humans will appear to be arrogant people who
confused the power to dominate with being superior to those
who fell under their rule.
As always, a story says it
best. The following one shows what life could be like in an
Judy Tatelbaum, a psychotherapist
from Carmel California, wrote to us about a little black Labrador
mix dog named Noodles who has become her sacred companion. This
dog brings a loving element to Judy's work that can only be
experienced through a creature who licks you or sits on your
Judy says that Noodles' given
name should have been Compassion. She believes that Noodles
senses when people are in need, and the dog deliberately bathes
them with all the love expressed in her soulful brown eyes.
Let's let Judy tell Noodles'
story in her own words.
I first noticed Noodle's compassion
when she was a puppy. I gave a party for 30 volunteers from
our local AIDS project. Noodles spent the evening going back
and forth among the three people there who were ill with AIDS.
When I took her to the HIV/AIDS
support group I led, she spent the two hours every week lying
on various clients' laps. If a member seemed particularly upset,
she would remain with him all evening. She was my co-leader.
Then Noodles became my co-therapist.
I was referred a teenager, Kathy, whose father had murdered
her mother in a very public and disturbing way. As a psychotherapist,
I had not worked with anyone in the immediate aftermath of a
When Kathy arrived at my home
office, I ushered her toward the sofa. Noodles followed. Kathy
sat down. Noodles, who isn't allowed on the furniture, immediately
crawled up on the sofa and spread her body across Kathy's lap
like a warm, fuzzy blanket. Noodles spent much of the session
looking up into Kathy's face and licking her every once in a
while. Noodles stayed that way for the entire hour, and for
every subsequent therapy session. I was never sure how much
I helped Kathy, but I knew Noodles' love and support made a
Since then, whenever Noodles
sees someone in pain, she goes to them, licks them, and stays
by their side.
Noodles and Judy form a spiritual
team that is greater than the sum of its parts and accomplishes
more than either of them could do alone.
World about Animals as Souls
A skeptical radio host interviewed
us and began the conversation with a closed mind. But when one
after another, callers from his area related stories about animals,
who had appeared to them after death, he kept repeating the
word, "Amazing! Amazing!" He was a "convert"
by the end of our hour on air with him. Since over half of the
homes in America now have pets as family members, many people
are experiencing the spiritual nature of animals firsthand.
And even having afterdeath spiritual encounters with beloved
pets who have passed on.
Repeatedly in our own personal
experiences with animals and through the stories we've received,
we've been shown that when animals end their physical existence,
the soul lives on. Many people have had visions, signs, and
dreams in which the spirit of an animal has comforted a human
friend with the promise that they'll reunite in heaven or that
this soul will return to earth in a new animal body and find
the person again.
Soul Equals Soul
A corollary to the belief that
animals are souls is that soul equals soul. This concept levels
the playing field between humans and animals. Soul equals soul
involves viewing animals not only as the cuddly, lovable creatures
they often are but also as vibrant, vital, and vastly complex
players on the stages of our lives.
In the Anderson household soul
equals soul requires that we pay attention to reactions and
signals from the animals who share our lives. We don't view
Taylor, a bouncy yellow Labrador retriever, Speedy, a shy tabby
cat, Cuddles, a gracious black and white kitty, and Sunshine
and Sparkle, devotedly mated cockatiels, as "dumb"
animals. Instead, we cherish them as guides God often uses to
help us chart our courses in life.
We've seen that grasping the
concept and truly living as if all of us all cut from the same
cloth by the same Divine hand literally changes everything.
Meditations for an Enlightened
We invite you to reflect on
the following questions. Observe how you and your special animal
friends have served as spiritual catalysts for each other.
What have animals contributed
to your physical, mental, and emotional health? How have your
sacred companions transformed you into a more whole and complete
Why and when animals have entered
your life? Could you have soul agreements with them? What do
you think are the promises you might have made to one another
before entering this world?