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Teaching the Bird to Meditate

When people ask what it's like living with a macaw I tell them that no one -- no reading, no research, no professional with experience driven advice -- could have prepared me for such a companion animal. It's like living with a clever and manipulative five year old. Yes, he screams all the time, especially when I talk on the phone,which reduces his me time. Yes, he makes a mess, shredding everything from W-2 forms to thrice-replaced vertical blinds to the wooden headboard and footboard on my bed. And yes, he decorates my clothing with abstract poop designs at the most inopportune times and in the most undetected places (often when I arrive at work, people ask me about the unusual embroidery between my shoulder blades). Oh, Yes, he's smart. Full of joy and laughter, he not only threads together words to create grammatially correct sentences but actually composes music as both melody maker and lyricist. But nothing could have prepared me for a bird's level of compassion and sensitivity.

Years ago at a speaking engagment on animal communication, some smart aleck skeptic read my business card and asked if I could really hypnotize dogs. I don't remember whether I answered him seriously.

My response, is now, of course, "absolutely! " Animal hypnosis can be verified by any metaphysician who regularly meditates alongside animals. Hypnosis and meditation, though named differently, bring us to the same higher state of consciousness. Not only do animals respond to the elevated energy shift , they often travel deeper into their meditations, evidenced by the difficulty we have in waking them up when we return to normal waking consciousness. Animals instinctively recognize delicious and naturally want to absorb it just a little while longer! We see how readily animals respond to Reiki -- even when battling devastating and terminal diseases, they find respite from pain, harsh medication, and anxiety within a minute of Reiki energy permeating their auras as they drift into deep breathing and welcome sleep. This applies to the bird, too.

Watching the visible connectivity as the bird joins me in slow, rhythmic breathing yields awe. Birds are extra sensitive and compassionate creatures who detect and react to to the slightest nuance or mood change. When I'm upset, the bird will nuzzle me and say "awwww, cuddle." When I'm angry at him for biting me, he attempts deflection by asking for a "GOOD kiss." If I'm startled by an unexpected mishap like breaking a glass or skidding across a dark room on unpected dog pee, breaking my toe, the bird whispers, "It's's OK" to reassure me.

One morning after our shower ( he has a perch in my shower where, by the way, he sings -- look for his You-Tube videos), he was particularly ornery, screaming steadily just to make unpleasant noise. Rather than screaming back at him (which does halt him temporarily), I decided to teach him meditation.

He stood on the towel bar and I faced him so that we were nose to nose. I began breathing in deeply in proper meditative fashion, filling my lungs with air so my stomach expanded like a balloon, holding it, then releasing the breath slowly through my mouth. I repeated this three or four times, then closed my eyes and continued the pattern, still nose to nose with him. After about four minutes, I opened my eyes to find him standing with his eyes closed and his feathers ruffled into a fluffy green ball from his body all the way up to thye top of his head. He was still out there in the ethers, communing with the Spirits who welcome our visits. When he eventually opened his eyes, he cocked his head and stared at me with surprise and delight. He had tasted bliss.

We have continued this practice. It's healing for us both.


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Visual and Visionary Part 2: The Images

The Grief of the Pasha

by Jean Leone Gerome

The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau

The Bear Dance by
William Holbrook Beard

Spirit Wolf
by Susan Seddon Boulet

Calico Kitty by Georg Williams

Blue Dog (the original)
by George Rodrigue

Bodo Flying through the Night
by Martin LaBorde