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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. March's Theme: "Pets"
Volume 4 Issue 3 ISSN# 1708-3265
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Are Animals Our Pets?
by Tera Thomas

Many humans like to think of animals as cute, cuddly, and less intelligent than we are. I think that's why a lot of us call our animal friends pets. To me "pet" is a bit condescending, especially since animals have been my biggest teachers, and animals on my farm work as teachers for humans who come here to learn about animal communication and our deep connection with all of life.

My feelings about "pet" being a condescending term began shortly after moving to the country from New York City, when I met Ferdinand, a 2500 pound Black Angus bull. I wanted to make friends with Ferdinand so each day I would walk down to his pasture, pick some luscious grass and wave it over the fence saying, "Hi bull. Look what I've brought you, beautiful bull." He completely ignored me.

After performing this ritual many times, I suddenly realized what a foolish picture I made, waving my arms around and speaking to this noble being as if he were some little toy who would come to my beck and call. I felt so ashamed. I threw down the grass and stood watching Ferdinand for a few minutes. I was filled with his grace and beauty and his proud, noble spirit. My heart burst with love for this huge being, the boundaries of my body melted and I was connected to every single part of the world around me. I clasped my hands together and bowed, "Namaste big bull," I said, feeling with all my being the force of the Sanskrit word meaning "I honour the God within you."

I was silent, expanded by my realization and expecting nothing. Ferdinand stopped chewing, turned to look at me, and walked to the fence to push his curly head into my chest. I will never forget the connection and the overwhelming joy I felt. I had experienced the truth of the simple phrase "we are all one." I had actually felt how we are all part of the same fabric and in that moment mended the separation between humans and animals within my own life.

Humans have been conditioned to believe that we are smarter, above all other species, yet we struggle to discover our spiritual selves and find meaning in our lives. Animals don't need guidance or instructions to be spiritual and don't consider separating themselves from nature in order to control or dominate it. This does not make animals better than we are, but it does mean there is a thing or two we can learn from them. Our words have power, just as our thoughts do, so if we begin to think of animals as our companions, our friends, or, as many Native People do, our brothers and sisters, it changes the way we look at them. If we allow the animals to be our teachers, they will help us all to remember this connection ourselves and to assist others to find it. Living in that space of compassion and love the animals give us so freely, how quickly we could change our world.

Tera Thomas is Founder and President of Hummingbird Farm, a nonprofit organization dedicated to deepening the understanding, respect, communication, and relationship between all living beings and the natural world around us. Tera is the author of Opening My Wings to Fly: What Animals Have Taught Me. (919) 742-5929 www.hummingbirdfarm.org

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