The Act of Harmlessness

Animal beings have been sharing a spiritual experience with human beings since the beginning of recorded time. Throughout history, animals have been associated with spiritual forces, shamanism, and have been worshiped as gods and goddesses. Even today, animals show us how to access the joy and wonder of creation.

In her book, Animal Grace, Mary Lou Randour states that she believes that we do not work on our spiritual lives in isolation. In fact, it appears that service, compassion, and awareness are the foundation to living an enlightened, spiritual life. So what does that mean?

For me, it means that it is my quiet time with Source, time spent in nature and with animal beings, that allows me to reconnect with the divine energy. It is my daily activities, my interactions with friends, family and co-workers, and my service to others, that demonstrates my spiritual journey in action.

My mornings begin before daybreak. My first activity is caring for my companion animals. I love how excited they get for breakfast, trusting that I will provide the food they need to nourish their bodies. A smile comes to my face as I watch them fly out the door to explore the yard – an expression of pure joy. I grab my coffee and join them as we watch the world wake up together. The act of providing for the animals that share my life is not a chore, but rather it is my opportunity to express spiritual joy and gratitude.

Most of the ancient religions and systems of wisdom tell us to do no harm to others. The goal is to evolve to a place where we live in harmony with all beings, but how often do most humans really ask how our actions make animals feel? Do we look at how they view our actions and realize it may not be one and the same? If the answer is no, then it’s time to awaken.

Animals are our spiritual teachers in life. They teach us how to love unconditionally. They teach us to love our self and to love all beings, even if they look and speak differently. They teach us to look beyond our differences and instead see the ways in which we are the same.

In fact, the more we learn about the intelligence and the emotions of animals, the more we see that we are more alike than different. We can no longer assume that human beings are more advanced. The lives of animal beings are not so different than our own – they love, they play, they grieve. Animals form communities and create a home – they feel joy, sorrow, pain and fear.

It’s been said that spirituality is not just about salvation; it is about a moral responsibility as an interdependent part of being in the web of life. If we are all connected, how could enlightenment end with the individual? Animals offer us a unique opportunity to transcend our human perceptions and gain a spiritual advantage. The goal of compassion is not to care because someone is like us, it is to care because they are representations of divine life force energy.

The practice of Ahimsa – harmlessness to all living things – was first born in India and can be seen in many Buddhist texts. For example the Buddha is quoted as saying, “A man is not noble if he injures living creatures; because a man has pity on all living creatures therefore a man can be called noble.”

Today, we have the opportunity to practice harmlessness. We can recognize our connection to all living beings and bring awareness of the sanctity of life to everything we do – the little moments, the big moments, and everything in between.

So as you go about your day, remember that your actions are a reflection of your spiritual journey. Walk gently, and do no harm.

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