Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Living with an Old Dog: Every Moment a Blessing

This morning I thought my old girl, Ingrid, had died, and I was stunned as I tried to lift her head and leg and they just fell, heavy, onto the bed. I didn't even see her breathing. It felt as if there was no life in her body at all. I surrounded her with my body, thinking she was gone, calling her name.....and then she moved. :-'(. I thought, "this is the way I want you to leave," peacefully, without drama. Maybe she was practicing. I cried much of the morning. But she's still here....a blessing.

She turned 14 last week and quietly enjoyed a small birthday party attended by her two housemate dogs and three other dog friends.  She was subdued but enjoyed enough birthday treats to the point of vomiting them up onto the couch at midnight.  
She can no longer climb into the bed and anxiously paced back and forth along the foot board until I lifted all 50 pounds of her and she curled up and slept till morning.  On occasion I would awaken in the middle of the night to f…

Ingrid the Ghost Comes Back to Visit

I would like to show you where I used to live. I don’t live anymore in the sense of physical life as you understand it but I live in another dimension that gives me some flexibility of movement. From here I can gently re-enter the earth plane, almost like a whisper, tugging at my mom until she is still enough to sense me. 
I share this not for her but for all of you who seemed to know so much about me from my mom’s words and pictures. I read the good words you wrote when I left and was touched because I was not a famous dog or a winner or a champion of any sort, just a deeply loved girl who had the luck to land in the right home. I want to show you the best parts of my life, which means where I lived because my home was my life. Take a look around the room - the living room, the kitchen, the family room –all those flaws you see in the walls and ceiling are really welcoming caves where my spirit has settled. I’m in every crack in the wall, every fold of fabric, every scratch on the fu…

God's Covenant with Animals in the Old Testament

What is our human responsibility to the earth and its non-human inhabitants? Traditional Biblical scholars would say one of master-servant and ecologists would say one of caretaker. However, using either frame, neither movement has responded in full view of the evidence presented throughout the Bible that God clearly included animals in covenantal relationships with Biblical scholars neglecting the sanctity of animals and secular environmentalists neglecting God. A closer look at the Old Testament reveals that God designed humankind’s role in relation to the animals as one of stewardship rather than domination. Traditionally religious people often cite Scripure justify a master/servant relationship between humans and animals rather than one of partnership, but deeper investigation invites us to see texts rich with references, both literal and figurative, to the partnership between humankind and the animal world. From Genesis through Prophets and Wisdom Literature, the writers of the O…