Pets are stealth spiritual teachers
I firmly believe our pets are smaller-size incarnations of a larger, benevolent over soul, present in our lives as spiritual guides and teachers. They come to us in animal form, because the mutual, unconditional love we share with our pets helps them get past our prejudices, blind spots, and fixed ideas, to help us grow and expand our awareness. In other words, we adopt the teachers we need. Or perhaps they actually adopt us.
Whether we are able to consciously communicate words, pictures, or ideas with our pets, we always are learning from them. Through subtle and loving interactions, they teach us about the big-picture issues in life. They communicate with us in any way we are able to accept, and we are the better for it. When we pay attention to interactions with our pets, we learn about ourselves and life.
In a previous post, I talked about how my black cat Beauregard insistently taught me how to communicate with him. Just five months after he came into my life, our other resident cat passed from a long-standing illness. Beau was less than a year old, desolate, and BORED. He wanted attention from the humans, non-stop, particularly overnight when we wanted to sleep. It was quickly apparent that another cat was required, for the health and sanity of the entire household.
We visited an area breeder and purchased a male blue point Tonkinese kitten, who had been the runt of his litter. He was three pounds of cute with a very healthy voice, which we discovered somewhat to our chagrin on the hour-and-a-half drive home from the breeder. We named him Elphinstone, Elph for short, and hoped he that physically he would grow into his name. His voice certainly was big enough. Little did we know that he had other stealth means of conveying important messages to us, as well.
Elph and Beau bonded instantly when they met. There was a brief minute-long bout of hissing when Elph jumped on Beau’s back and rode him through the house. It ended with Beau mock-nursing Elph, cuddled up on the bed. From that moment forward, they were buddies, playing, sleeping, grooming, eating, and harassing the humans as a unit.
LESSON NUMBER ONE: Make friends. Life is much richer, when you have company on the journey.
Elph was minky soft, sweet-natured, and absolutely gentle. Beau was the dominant cat, but Elph was perfectly happy to let his brother lead. Elph was mostly interested in having fun. He flew through the house in pursuit of super balls, did back flips chasing pipe cleaners, and dragged his Cat Dancer toy around by himself, when the humans were tired of waving it for him. He was often observed as a silver streak through the house, knee-high to a human. He was exuberant in his approach to life. Many of his mad dashes through the house were interrupted by a somersault or two. Elph was all about form over function.
LESSON NUMBER TWO: Never pass up an opportunity to have fun. Almost anything can be enjoyable, when approached correctly.
Elph was devoted to his humans. He followed me from room to room, always keeping me company. We read books, knitted, did housework, cooked, studied computer programming, and played together. His devotion also included bath time, when he would perch high on my chest, carefully avoiding all contact with the dreaded water. He loved me and wanted to share, even when I was doing something he perceived to be dangerous.
LESSON NUMBER THREE: Loyalty is a virtue. The bonds of your relationships define your life.
When I discovered Reiki, meditation and crystals, Elph was on board with my new activities, too. In Reiki sessions, he would spot energy blockages for me, tapping the spot with his paw, or less subtly, simply laying on top of the spot. When I purchased new crystals, he would appropriate them for his own use, amassing a stash of stones behind the sofa, where he could lay on them. When this wasn’t possible with the eighty-five pound chunk of tourmalinated quartz I acquired for meditation and channeling, he simply used it as a cat bed. Elph was fearless in the metaphysical realm.
LESSON NUMBER FOUR: Try something new. Life is more fulfilling when you expand the boundaries of your playground.
Meditation was a favored activity for Elph. When I would begin to meditate, he could sense the vibe no matter where he was in the house. He would be on my chest, right over my heart center, within ten seconds. He loved the energy and he enhanced my meditations, too. Somehow I was able to reach higher, sweeter states of consciousness with his help. He would settle on my chest, cross his eyes slightly, let the tip of his tongue protrude, and gently ease me into theta state. I nicknamed him my little Buddha cat. We rode the astral together and always found the experience beautiful.
LESSON NUMBER FIVE: Share your joy. Happiness shared is happiness multiplied.
Elph had a healthy voice and he wasn’t afraid to use it. He chirped at super balls as he batted them. He sang to the ghosts in the corners of the ceiling. He called for Beau to come play with him. He chatted with birds on the other side of the window. He warbled if he wasn’t getting enough petting. He yodeled on the landing of the stairs, just for the fun of it. He simply was vocal. Somehow, he managed to make his voice endearing, rather than annoying. We found his singing charming.
LESSON NUMBER SIX: Speak up and you will be heard and accepted, when you keep your tone amiable. Use your voice with love.
Beau passed from kidney failure early in 2005. Elph was devastated. Elph was determined to grieve, hard. Tears ran down from his big, blue, slightly-crossed eyes in mourning. He didn’t purr for months. Slowly he began to enjoy life again with the help of Beau’s self-designated successor, a rescued Russian Blue named Jasper. They started to gently chase and then to snuggle together. After a few months, they were inseparable. I had been concerned that Elph might mourn himself to death, and was relieved when he was ready to enjoy life again.
LESSON NUMBER SEVEN: The past is passed; you cannot turn the clock back. Find something right now to engage your interest in life.
Two years later, Elph was in the early stages of kidney failure. Beau reached out to me from the great beyond and urged me to adopt a third cat, which he instructed me to find on Petfinder—look for a Siamese male blue point who had been a stray. Orion was street-smart, nearly feral, very self-assured, and aggressive. I was uncertain how he might relate to Elph, who was aging and fragile. Beau urged me to proceed with the adoption in spite of my doubts, and I’m glad I listened. Jasper and Elph had reached an arrangement where neither cat was dominant. Elph now was forced by Orion’s fierceness to establish his position in the cat hierarchy. He amazingly performed this feat without lifting a paw, simply by shunning him whenever Orion was pushy. He would turn his back and ignore Orion, who responded very quickly to the cold shoulder. Elph was clearly top cat.
LESSON NUMBER EIGHT: You do not need to prove who you are forcefully. Your power naturally shines out from you for all to see, when you are gentle and persistent.
Orion struggled without an active companion. He was—as Siamese are—extremely high energy. He had been caged for months before we adopted him and he needed a playmate to release that pent-up energy. About a year after Orion adopted us, Beau took me in hand from the other side and pointed out an adolescent black rescue cat in need of a home. Makhota joined our household and Elph was instantly in love. On first meeting, he walked up to Makhota, head butted him, and proceeded to give him a bath. Elph had a black-furred companion again and was thrilled. He was so straightforward, that Makhota had no choice but to love him back.
LESSON NUMBER NINE: Go after what you want with all your heart. The universe cannot deny confidence, effort, and determination.
Elph’s health continued to decline. He became frailer and exhibited more physical symptoms. This never seemed to matter to him much. He indicated to me, in our conversations, that he didn’t experience his bodily decline to any great degree. His spirit was focused on the larger universe. I began to propose euthanasia to him in our talks. He resisted firmly—he was still enjoying life. He persisted in refusing euthanasia until the bitter end. When the final day arrived, he passed easily and happily in my arms.
LESSON NUMBER TEN: When you do something, be all in. When it is time to stop, just let go gracefully.
Elph taught me many of the important spiritual lessons I needed to learn. He brought love, fun, spiritual connection, and a more mature attitude to my life. I’m endlessly grateful for his presence in my physical life. He continues to help teach me from beyond and offers assistance in my animal communication sessions.
Here’s a recap of the major lessons I learned from Elph. You’ll note the shift from simpler to more complex concepts, as he and I progressed through life together.
- Make friends. Life is much richer, when you have company on the journey.
- Never pass up an opportunity to have fun. Almost anything can be enjoyable, when approached correctly.
- Loyalty is a virtue. The bonds of your relationships define your life.
- Try something new. Life is more fulfilling when you expand the boundaries of your playground.
- Share your joy. Happiness shared is happiness multiplied.
- Speak up and you will be heard and accepted, when you keep your tone amiable. Use your voice with love.
- The past is passed; you cannot turn the clock back. Find something right now to engage your interest in life.
- You do not need to prove who you are forcefully. Your power naturally shines out from you for all to see, when you are gentle and persistent.
- Go after what you want with all your heart. The universe cannot deny confidence, effort, and determination.
- When you do something, be all in. When it is time to stop, just let go gracefully.
If you have a pet, I encourage you to pay attention to what they’re trying to teach you. If you don’t have a pet, I urge you to consider letting a rescue animal adopt you. Your life will be richer and you will become wiser when you interact with a pet. My cats bring richness and dimension that would be otherwise missing from my life. I wish you the same beauty and fulfillment.