Life Lessons We Can Learn From Animals
Updated: May 20, 2019
There are generally two camps for pet lovers, the dog lovers, and the cat lovers. All the other animals, guinea pigs, birds, fish, lizards etc. seem to fall into the ‘other’ category. I have always been an animal lover, and Ben once had a pet fly called Winston 😊. If I had to choose though, I would have previously always picked a dog over a cat. Living on and off for the last 3 years with two cats I realised I had developed a definitive opinion of these felines, regularly referring to them as second-class citizens. My opinion has since changed.
It’s amazing how much humans can learn from observing animals. Loyalty, companionship, unconditional love, honesty, freedom and the mastered ability to live in the moment.
When Ben was growing up, we had two dogs as family members who were much loved for almost 14 years. Despite often using them as cushions, both dogs adored him. The German Shepherd Vienna was always particularly close to Ben and from the day he was born, she kept an eye on him.
When we would go for a walk, she would position herself between Ben and anyone else. Her message was friendly but clear, they had to go through her first to get to him.
She drove him crazy during games of hide-n-seek when she would always find him hiding and bark excitedly, so the ‘seeker’ was also able to find him just as easily. I was not surprised to hear recently that the Vienna and Ben are still together in another realm today.
“Sense is to be found in the mind. To find love and the important stuff we need to be ‘out of our minds’ “.
I wonder why as we get older, we naturally seem to narrow our thinking, often dismissing anything outside our sphere of influence or our normal or that we simply find too hard to believe.
I am reading a book about a cat that lived with one of the worlds most spiritual leaders. In a very cool twist, the story is narrated by the cat and written from her perspective. It is well done and describes the never-ending stream of visitors to her new home from people all over the world. She comments that they all want to know the same thing. How can I find happiness and meaning in an increasingly busy and materialistic world?
Such a simple reminder that people all over the world, really just want the same thing in life and it is never attained with just the accumulation of money or things. We’ve all heard the old phrase ‘Money does not buy you happiness’, but we should also remember that neither does poverty. Humans have placed different values on pieces of paper and gold and silver circles of metal that we trade for experiences and ‘things’ in our life. These experiences and things without a doubt are fun and surely make us live more comfortably even bringing us temporary happiness, but I have to ask then, 1. Why is it never enough? And 2. If it isn’t enough then why do we need so much stuff in the first place?
How good is it that happiness, meaning, and love are ‘commodities’ that can never be bought, allowing every one of us an equal opportunity to attain these depending on our perspective and attitude?
Interesting how it takes a wake-up call, or a cat, to remind us of the basic ingredients needed for a happy healthy life. The need for us to grow personally and collectively, while maintaining the balance of holding on to what serves us and makes us better people and of letting go of what doesn’t.
There is something to be said for being, or at least following the principals of staying, ‘Forever Young’.