I am happy to share the following excerpt from my new book, Buddhism for Pet Lovers.
Sometimes, even the most warm-hearted pet lovers need to be gently reminded that communicating with other sentient beings is a two way street. We may be very good at talking to our pets, but how much do we listen?
I hope you find the following suggestions helpful! Please share your experiences in the Comments section of this blog!
Experiment: Being mindfully present for your pet
Pick a moment when your pet is awake and alert, but not necessarily focused on an imminent meal, arrival or walk.
Sit together in a quiet place, inside or out.
Settle your mind for a minute or so by focusing on your breath. Each time you exhale, let go more and more of any thoughts and feelings.
Having settled your mind to some extent, ask your pet if they would like to share a few minutes of quality time with you. Ideally, the asking involves not only a verbalised idea, but an image of you attending to your pet, because animals can be receptive to visualised cues. During this time, assure your pet that they will remain the focus of your attention. Whatever they would like to communicate or do, you are open to them.
Wait. Watch. Don’t expect the reaction to be instant. The answer may come in the form of an action—such as approaching you—a symbol, or an image. This is not text messaging.
If you get a positive response, ask your pet what he or she would most like from you.
Be open and ready to respond.
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(Photo: David visiting the wonderful Maison de Moggy in Edinburgh).