ANIMALS AS HEALERS (PART 1)
Can animals be healers? Yes, they can!. Read how...
"If with kindly generosity, One merely has the wish to soothe, The aching hearts of other beings, Such merit has no bounds." (Kuan Yin)
Much has now been written about animals as healers and the above quote applies as much to certain animal beings as it does to certain human beings. The non-judgemental attitude and unconditional love that many animals display has helped many a human being to pull through a dark night of the soul. Cats, dogs, horses, ponies, donkeys, dolphins, birds, chickens and a host of other four footed and feathered friends have brought solace, companionship, affection, comfort and healing to the broken hearted, lonely and bereft. For those who enjoy the stimulation of a good conversation, this may be hard to believe, but even then, if one can let go of that ‘requirement’, one can find that another channel of communication opens up …true, it is much simpler but it can serve another purpose, giving one a deep feeling of loving connectedness with another soul and thereby, all that is. Soul communicates with soul with no mental clutter in the way and none of the complications that human love can include!
There is no need to mention again those wonderful dogs who serve disadvantaged humans, whether they simply be blind, deaf or disabled people, soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome or mentally and emotionally traumatised souls, or the cats who bring healing to the autistic or the horses, ponies or donkeys who bring about transformation in troubled, at times delinquent teenagers and children. Pet therapy is another line of service often mentioned now and certain special animals have been used in counselling sessions with children, helping those children to open up and communicate more and to generally leave the session feeling much better! Then there are the animals who earn merit through regularly visiting nursing homes, schools for children with difficulties, hospitals and such-like, bringing joy to the inmates. Apart from anything else, stroking a purring cat lowers blood pressure and stress levels. Certain mediums have even seen a pink aura of affection emanate from contented, purring cats. We also hear of Dolphin Assisted Therapy where certain dolphins work with the disabled, traumatised, depressed and also dolphins who, through their loving interaction, enable Downs’ Syndrome children to make progress and learn to read and write.
As so many stories are emerging now of animals as healers, in this article, I am going to concentrate on feline healers. It seems that an animal is often drawn to a person at a particular time of crisis, as if sent by an angelic force in one’s time of need. This happened to me many years ago, when I was inconsolably broken hearted for a certain reason… a young cat living nearby forsook her original owners (much to their annoyance) and unofficially adopted me, waiting for me to come home after work each evening, then sitting on my lap, purring loudly and chirruping ecstatically all the while. Her sweet and enthusiastic affection was a great comfort and helped me through a very desolate period. She remained a constant, loyal and deeply loving companion for the next twelve years until she died. I do feel now that she was heaven sent.
Another healer in feline form is Billy, a beautiful stray cat from the Cats’ Protection League. Fraser was a severely autistic child until Billy came into his life. It is as if Billy specifically incarnated with a mission to help Fraser. According to Fraser’s mother, “the first time we took Fraser to see Billy, the cat went straight to him… Fraser sat down on the floor and Billy lay across him with his paws on his legs and just started purring…Billy has made a complete difference to our family life, he’s taken away the stress, he’s added happiness and an air of calm, he’s just been amazing…he makes Fraser so happy all the time”. Billy stays near Fraser constantly and whenever Fraser starts to get upset, Billy is there to comfort and reassure him with a head nuzzle, a cuddle or a purr, taking the heat out of the situation before it escalates! He constantly watches over him and knows beforehand if Fraser is going to get upset. This couple can also be seen on You Tube. (abridged from “How love of Billy, the stray cat has finally brought four year old autistic boy out of his shell”. (Mail Online). There are other recorded instances of cats connecting with and bringing healing to mentally disturbed or autistic children and adults... these special felines seem to hold a master 'key' that opens that particular door.
According to Ramana Maharshi: “Some animals have so much love for their masters that they bypass human birth and go directly to God..."
I will never forget reading about Miguel in “Incredible Cats” by David Greene. Miguel was a small, scruffy stray cat who brought about a miraculous recovery in Maria, a ten year old Mexican girl who, because of a bad accident, had lost consciousness and gone into a helpless coma. Her parents despaired of her ever regaining consciousness. Almost seven months went by in this way until 27 July 1976, when Miguel mysteriously entered the home and started to put things right. That night, Maria’s mother noticed with horror a small stray cat lying on Maria’s bed next to Maria’s left hand. What is more, he was patiently and gently licking that hand with his little pink tongue. Her horrified reaction soon turned to wonder and amazement however when she saw, in the darkness, that Maria’s fingers on her left hand had started to twitch. Instead of wanting to shoo him away, she positively encouraged him to stay. Miguel stayed on the bed cosily cuddled up to Maria, only occasionally going out through the open bedroom window for short periods. Then on the eight day of his vigil, Maria... wonder of wonders… finally came out of her long and hopeless coma and spoke her first words in almost seven months.
When Maria was fully recovered, her parents decided to take her away on a holiday. They left instructions that Miguel be cared for and fed in their absence. However, when they returned from their holiday, Miguel had vanished. Apparently he had come back for four consecutive nights and slept on Maria’s bed but after that he was never seen again. He disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared. Perhaps he had another healing assignment to get to and having done his work, was now free to move on to another soul in need of his particular ministrations.
Readers may already know of Bob the Streetcat, the now famous ginger cat who can be seen on the streets of Covent Garden, London, accompanying his owner, James Bowen, while he plays music for a living. Once a homeless, desperate and depressed drug addict, James’ life was literally healed and transformed when Bob, a wounded stray cat, came into his life and insisted on staying there, refusing to leave James, even following him onto buses and underground trains. Bob’s insistence induced James to adopt him permanently and caring for this other creature started to help him recover. James is very clear about the fact that Bob’s amazingly unconditional love and devotion has turned his own life round and literally saved it. Once when James had a bad chest infection, Bob used to lie on his chest… something he did not normally do. This is not unusual in that cats sense when a person is in pain and will often go and sit on the painful spot if possible, often removing that pain. James is now clear of drugs and has written two books about his life with Bob, one of which is for children. Thanks to Bob, James is no longer penniless or homeless... far from it, in fact. Hopefully, with Bob’s continuing love and companionship, his life will never take a downward turn again.
“Animals really awaken the deep love in your heart. They do that and that’s what their function is, if we listen.” The Supreme Master Ching Hai
David Greene in “Incredible Cats” confirms the healing power of cats when he says: “Since the cat’s ability to soothe sick minds and comfort sick bodies was first recognised during the mid-1970s, they have become increasingly important in therapy and found a caring role not only in hospitals but also in schools for the handicapped, drug and alcohol addiction units and old people’s homes. They have helped men, women and children afflicted with such diverse problems as mental illness, heart disease and brain damage caused by strokes or accidental injury. They have assisted in keeping alcoholics off the bottle and encouraged drug addicts to kick the habit.” (Incredible Cats, page 77)
(Article written by Mercini Sherratt for Vedanta Empire's charity incentive)
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