Take a moment to notice the inflow and outflow of your breath. Then let your thoughts settle on another living, breathing creature with whom you crossed paths recently. This can be your closest companion animal – such as your dog, cat, gerbil, iguana, or canary – or someone outdoors: the crow who cawed at you from the pine, the snake in the grass at your feet, the deer on a distant hill. It can even be an animal who made a strong impression on you through a photo or drawing. Bring this animal clearly into your imagination. Does it gallop, swoop, crawl, mosey? How does its voice sound? Have you ever touched it? If so, how does it feel? If not, can you imagine the texture of its fur, feathers, scales; its own unique “skin”?
Consider what special qualities this animal expresses. Devotion? Cleverness? Tireless joy? Industrious self-reliance? Modesty? Mystery? Native people across many cultures believe that animals speak to us through their very natures. An encounter with an animal points out qualities in us that we need to understand better. When you think of your animal companion, whether tame or wild, what do they show you about your own life right now? Send them gratitude for this teaching.
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