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Animal Teachers and Healers: Listening to Animal Wisdom

Animal Teachers and Healers: Listening to Animal Wisdom and Pillar 6 of the Let Animals Lead® Method

In our journey towards understanding and connecting with animals on a deeper level, listening to the wisdom of animals as teachers and healers is the key to unlocking the potential for that connection.

Animals are our Best Teachers

As sentient beings, animals have much to teach us if we open our hearts and minds to their profound presence. This article explores the significance of animals as teachers and advocates for embracing their guidance in our lives. It also delves into Pillar 6 of the Let Animals Lead® method which honors animals as our greatest teachers and healers.

What can animals teach us? A quick video explaining how to learn from animals.



Animals as Teachers and Healers: Unveiling Their Profound Wisdom

Throughout history, humans have recognized the innate wisdom possessed by animals. Ancient cultures revered animals as sacred beings, understanding their ability to navigate the natural world effortlessly. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in recognizing animals as potent teachers in various aspects of life, from emotional healing to spiritual growth.

Animals are astute observers of their environment, displaying an incredible ability to live in harmony with nature and adapt to ever-changing circumstances. By observing their behavior, we can learn valuable lessons about resilience, intuition, and interconnectednes; about humility, forgiveness, and acceptance.

We can learn so much from animals and their deeper gifts of perception and presence. People often don’t value animals, but the Let Animals Lead® method invites us to consider that animals are extraordinary and here on this earth for their own purpose and journey.

If we are lucky enough, they may grace our lives and teach us some important spiritual lessons along the way. Animals teach us effortlessly about how to be a more connected, more compassionate human being, simply by living and being themselves, and by expressing their unique talents and instincts. However we must learn how to open our hearts to these lessons if we hope to learn them

Animals often exhibit unwavering loyalty, forgiveness, and unconditional love–qualities that we humans often have difficulty embodying.

Here are three spiritual lessons I have learned from farm animals:

The Cow: Forgiveness

When my daughter was a toddler, I’ll never forget the day we visited a pumpkin patch before Halloween. A cow was living in a paddock on the property, and my daughter immediately ran to the fence. The cow walked over and stood with her head down just low enough so that my daughter could pet her through the fence. How touching it was to see the joy on my daughter’s face and the recognition of this joy in the cow—how trusting and close she was with my daughter. As I wondered about this cow’s future, I wished in my heart that this kind of sweet connection between children and cows could be repeated over and over in this world. No matter what has gone before in the realm of human/cow relations in this world, there is hope for change and there is space for forgiveness.

The Sheep: Gentleness

During one of my visits to Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in England, I had the good fortune to sit in meditation with the several of the sheep in their barn. They seemed fascinated with my practice and had all gathered near the fence, watching me as I sat and breathed peacefully. After several minutes, one of the older sheep came slowly out of the barn. Clearly, she had some difficulty walking and was very unbalanced on her feet. As she came forward to the fence to see me, all of the other sheep parted quietly and gently like the sea so that she could walk unimpeded through them to greet me. She moved so slowly, yet the other sheep happily gave her whatever time and space she needed to move freely. It was so beautiful to watch how they respected her and showed this with such gentleness. I thought to myself, if only humans could treat their elders in such a manner, society would be very different.

The Chicken: Focus

I love visiting the chickens who live in the garden at my daughter’s school. Have you ever watched a chicken hunting for seeds, leaves, bugs—well, just about anything to eat? They are so focused that nothing gets past them. They can find the smallest seed, unearth the most hidden insect and gulp down a piece of lettuce faster than the human eye can follow! And as long as any seeds remain, they will keep working for them through scratching and pecking. It is so sweet to watch, and I think to myself, if only I could be as focused! In this day and age, we have become so distracted by so many gadgets and technology. We are always doing several things at once, and I think this takes away from our experience in the moment. Perhaps we can follow the example of the chicken and turn our focus toward finding ways to honor others and transform this world through compassionate action. I hope so.

Lessons I’ve Learned from Cats

In my own journey, Reiki has been my path to rediscover my inner self-healing power, and when I practice my Reiki meditations, the animals take notice and want to connect. I’d like to share three unexpected lessons in healing I’ve learned from some special feline teachers:

Healing is about touching hearts, not hands.

We humans seem always to focus Reiki on hands: Hands equal healing. We’re very tactile creatures, aren’t we? We feel more connected when we use touch.

For example, we might love to give a cat a little scratch behind the ear to show affection. Those of us with domestic, affectionate cat friends might think of a Reiki session with our hands resting on the cat. However, I’ve had so many beautiful experiences of connection and healing with shelter cats without ever making physical contact. It is amazing to see a feral or traumatized shelter cat respond to Reiki meditation with a softening of posture followed by yawning, falling asleep and sometimes even a slow blink (wonderful!). No touch needed! Or should I say, and more importantly, wanted. My shelter cat teachers have shown me that we should always let animals choose touch, rather than initiating it ourselves, just because it’s our “human” way. Cats know that healing is much more than skin deep!

Healing is not a one-way street.

One special cat, Frazier (may he rest in peace), taught me how healing is a space that we share in compassion, rather than an act that we do from a space of pity. Frazier lived the final chapter of his life at BrightHaven holistic animal sanctuary and hospice in Northern California. He was in his 30s (!!) when he passed, and I only knew him for the last few years of his life. When I knew him, he was suffering from cancer and the tumor had taken one of his eyes and part of his face. Yes, he was living with cancer, but truly I can say he was “living.” He had the energy of a young and vibrant cat. He carried himself as if he was the most handsome of all the cats at the sanctuary. And he loved Reiki. But every time he sat in my lap and pushed his ravaged face into my hands during our Reiki meditation together, something strange happened: I felt a beautiful healing warmth in my own heart from his compassionate presence. It was as if he was saying to me, “Oh yes, Kathleen, I know I have cancer and I’m in hospice now, and you might think you’re here to help me. But actually, we’re here to help each other.” And so we would sit in Reiki and heal, together as One. Frazier knew that true healing is a space that is shared.

Senior animals really can teach us to be better people and Frasier was a shining example of this!

Let Animals Lead®: A Shift in Perspective

Animal Reiki Source’s philosophy and mission to “let animals lead” serves as a powerful mantra for those seeking to deepen their connection with the animal kingdom. It encourages us to step back, relinquish control, and embrace the wisdom and guidance animals offer. By adopting this mindset, we acknowledge that animals are not merely passive recipients of our affection and care; they have agency, intelligence, and the capacity to guide us.

Listening to the Wisdom of Animals: The Path to Animal Reiki

The Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki, an approach rooted in the principles of mindfulness and energy healing, is a profound way to engage with animals and honor their wisdom. This practice allows us to connect with animals on a heart-to-heart level, creating a space for healing, balance, and transformation.

When we practice Animal Reiki using the six Pillars of the Let Animals Lead® method, we enter into a state of deep relaxation and openness, allowing animals to take the lead and communicate their needs and desires (and even facilitate their own healing). And, in contrast, by being present, open and receptive, we create an environment of trust and respect, enabling animals to share their innate wisdom with us.

Embracing the teachings of animals through Animal Reiki can be a life-altering experience.

It enables us to develop a greater sense of empathy, compassion, and understanding, not only towards animals but also towards ourselves and the world around us.

Pillar 6 of Let Animals Lead®: Honoring Animals as Spiritual Teachers and Healers



In the realm of holistic healing, the practice of Animal Reiki stands tall as a gentle yet powerful approach to fostering harmony and well-being in animals. Rooted in the Japanese Usui tradition of Reiki, this unique method emphasizes the importance of cultivating compassionate connections with our animal companions using meditation techniques.

Central to our Let Animals Lead® philosophy of Animal Reiki are the Six Pillars of Animal Reiki, each representing an essential aspect of this Reiki practice. Pillar 6, in particular, encapsulates the profound concept of honoring animals as spiritual teachers and healers.

Pillar 6: Animals as Spiritual Teachers

At the heart of Let Animals Lead® Reiki is the understanding that animals possess a unique wisdom and innate ability to teach us profound life lessons. Pillar 6 encourages practitioners to approach animals with humility, respect, and a willingness to learn from them. Animals are seen as spiritual beings who can guide us towards a deeper understanding of ourselves, our connection with the natural world, and our place within the greater web of life.

The Wisdom of Animal Teachers: Animals have an extraordinary capacity for presence and mindfulness, living fully in the present moment. Their innate ability to be fully aware, without judgment or attachment, serves as an invitation for humans to cultivate a similar state of being. Observing animals in their natural environment can inspire us to let go of our worries and distractions, grounding ourselves in the here and now.

Furthermore, animals often exhibit unconditional love and acceptance, regardless of our flaws or imperfections. By witnessing their boundless compassion, we can learn to embrace ourselves and others with greater kindness and understanding. Animals show us that love has the power to heal, transform, and create profound connections that transcend the boundaries of species.

A Harmonious Partnership created by Pillar 6 of the LAL® Method:

Let Animals Lead® Animal Reiki practitioners strive to establish a harmonious partnership with animals, recognizing their unique preferences, needs, and boundaries. The practice involves holding a Reiki space for animals, allowing them the choice to utilize the healing energy if and as they see fit. Practitioners understand that animals are active participants in the healing process, and we honor the animals’ choices and autonomy throughout the sessions. Choice is always left up to the animal.

By approaching animals as equal participants in the healing journey, we acknowledge their agency and honor their innate wisdom. In this reciprocal relationship, both humans and animals benefit, growing together and deepening their bond.

Cultivating Animal Wisdom in Daily Life with Pillar 6:

The teachings of Pillar 6 extend beyond formal Animal Reiki sessions, encouraging individuals to incorporate animal wisdom into our daily lives. This means developing a mindful and compassionate approach towards all animals we encounter, whether they are our pets, wildlife, or farm animals.

Through mindful observation and interaction, we can learn valuable lessons about resilience, adaptability, and the interconnectedness of all living beings. By respecting and protecting the natural environment and its inhabitants, we honor the teachings of Pillar 6 and also embody the principles of Animal Reiki.

Pillar 6 of LAL® Animal Reiki invites us to recognize animals as spiritual teachers and healers, capable of guiding us towards a more compassionate and harmonious existence.

The Ripple Effect of Allowing Animals to Teach Us: Spreading the Wisdom

As we learn to listen and be guided by the wisdom of animals, our transformed perspective begins to extend beyond our immediate interactions. The lessons we learn from animals often ripple out into all aspects of our lives, impacting our relationships, career choices, and our overall well-being.

Moreover, by embodying the teachings of animals, we become advocates for their well-being. We recognize the importance of nurturing a compassionate coexistence with animals, treating them with kindness and respect, and actively working towards their protection—which is why the Let Animals Lead method is so effective in animal shelters and animal rescues.

In our fast-paced, human-centric world, it is essential to pause and acknowledge the profound wisdom that animals offer.

Through practices such as Pillar 6 of the Let Animals Lead® method of Animal Reiki, we can listen attentively as we embark on a journey of personal growth and transformation. Opening our hearts and minds to the teachings of animals and fostering a deep connection that has the power to reshape our lives and our world reminds us that we are all interconnected beings sharing this planet. And that is a significant step towards creating a more compassionate and harmonious world for all beings.

Here are some heartwarming and inspirational quotes about animals and their ability to be great healers!

If you’re interested in learning how to connect more deeply with the animals around you, please consider joining one of our upcoming Animal Reiki classes or joining any of our on-demand courses, such as our 3-Day Animal Reiki challenge (Forming Better Bonds with your Beloved Animal Friends) or our overview Core Curriculum course.

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