Embark on an animal adventure in this armchair safari through the animal kingdom!Discover what sparked the grassroots movement sweeping the UK, USA, Canada, and India.
Introduction: Following the Animal Tracks to Spirituality (Excerpt from What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality: Inspiring Lessons of Wild and Tame Creatures by Diana L. Guerrero.)
Animals serve as our link to the intuitive and to the divine. You cannot be around animals for any amount of time and not learn something. For me, this means those hidden lessons beyond the pragmatic training relationships and application of behavior theories.
In this book I will give you tools: methods and examples designed to give you a better understanding of animals; the knowledge necessary to achieve clear communication, and establish mutual respect; and illustrations of how animals help us touch into our spiritual natures and catalyze our growth. Each level of growth ties into all the others, for we are a complete unit, not segments.
All chapters introduce you to the feathered, finned, scaled, and furred creatures who served as my students and teachers. Each section incorporates more animals than the one whose name graces the chapter title and within each piece are illustrations of other lessons on the particular rung on the ladder of spiritual growth.
There are seven archetypal symbols of spiritual maturation as humans ascend toward the divine. Personally, I find it simpler to use the analogy of climbing a spiritual ladder. Every rung contains specific lessons, and as you complete each module, you step up to the next level. However, each time a ladder is used you might go up and down multiple times. The same is true of our growth; sometimes we repeat the lessons until we get them.
In organizing this book I designed the first seven book chapters to represent seven archetypal rungs. The first rung includes basic survival beliefs, while spiritual matters such as acts of faith, prayer, and meditative thought patterns comprise the seventh.
“Loyalty of the Dog” introduces us not only to dogs, but also to elephants, a sea lion, musk oxen, and some fabulous felines. In discussions about relationships, there are stories related to responsibility, balance, fairness, integrity, power, loyalty, honor, and justice.
“Playfulness of the Otter” illustrates the importance of hard work, relaxation, and play. In addition to taking a close look at our rapport with others, this chapter explores the inner child, physical desires, and work. We’ll look at control, judgments, emotions, creativity, and the energy behind choices while guided by a menagerie of canines, marine mammals, a horse, and a cat.
“Power of the Polar Bear" seduces us into the world of physical power and emotional strength and impels us to investigate intuition, empowerment, self-acceptance, and confidence. Bears, cats, insects, and coyotes escort us.
“Heart of the Lion” helps us to delve into compassion and love while reminding us to focus on our relationships, and urging us to face our adversaries. You’ll meet TJ the mongrel, and glimpse the world of animal rescue and dog training.
“Call of the Wolf” is purely a canine discourse where wolves and domestic dogs lead the way through surrender, confession, acceptance, how to listen, and tuning into nature.
“Vision of the Eagle” helps us to look at far-sightedness, inner vision, detachment, discernment, mindfulness, and letting go. Eagles, pelicans, bats, and bears serve as our instructors.
“Mind of the Dolphin” encourages us to probe into the topics of harmony, synchronicity, and the importance of breathing. Our conductors include both domestic and wild animals.
The eighth chapter has a different role from the first seven. “Wisdom of the Owl” is practical instruction about how to develop your skills to connect with animals, and ultimately with the divine.
Finally, the Afterword is designed to stimulate your thoughts about animals in the afterlife. “Creatures of the Divine” briefly examines the question of animal souls. Join me on this quest and discover what animals can teach us about spirituality.
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