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Secrets to a joyful life—as taught by animals

It’s not easy to quiet our burdened minds. Life gets chaotic, we run out of time, seemingly insurmountable challenges continue to block our path. Sometimes negative emotions govern us—we feel off-balance and give in to anger or worry or fear.

These are the times we need our animals the most. Spending time with them can help to bring us back to that place of true happiness—of compassion, of harmony, of peace. Walking through life with our animals by our sides is truly the happiest place to be!

How do we begin? As you walk the road of life, simply take one step at a time, with the assistance of our animals and with a little help from Reiki. Below are my best secrets to a joyful life, guided by the Reiki precepts and taught by my many animal teachers:

1. Walk without anger. Anger is such a heavy burden to carry. Allow the peace and joy you feel when spending time with your animals to help you to put down this burden of anger. Allow your heart to lighten in the presence of your beautiful animal. Allow yourself to feel gratitude well up inside of you, thinking of all the joy and love your animal has brought to your life.

2. Walk without worry. Worry is a fruitless exercise of an overactive mind. It happens when we leave this present moment to fret about something that hasn’t happened yet. In other words, we are missing out on the here and now! Allow your animal to bring your energy back to the now. Join your animal here in this very instant, because that is where they are already. In this moment, you are together. In this moment, your hearts are connected with love. Allow yourself to feel courage well up inside of you, thinking of the infinite power of the heart to heal.

3. Walk in humility. Do you think of yourself as an animal caregiver? Take a moment to consider the opposite: What if your animal was the one caring for you, healing you, teaching you? Yes, perhaps they do so in an unconventional, subtle and very clever way. Nonetheless, your animal is teaching you very important life lessons about the power of living life from the heart, and remembering to always be authentic to your true self.

4. Walk in honesty. Something that is very special about our animals is that they love us for who we really are. They don’t care if we are fancy or rich, poised or graceful. They can see through to our hearts and see us for our beautiful bright light that is our truth! That is why they always look at us as if we are perfect—not because they are mistaken, but because they are looking through all of our foibles to see the truth of our inner spirit. What if we could walk through life seeing things in this way, too: seeing the inner hearts of others, seeing deeper than the perception of separateness? Seeing the truth that we are all connected, all One. Imagine if we all walked in such honesty, what a beautiful and compassionate world it would be.

5. Walk with compassion. When we care for our animals and have deep relationships with them, something very beautiful happens: We get to practice kindness and compassion every single day just being with them. It might seem like these are isolated acts at first, but in reality, our compassion for animals has a very wide ripple effect. We are also modeling kindness for others who may observe our relationship. When more of us make compassionate choices every day for animals, more people will become aware of the positive difference kindness makes. I dream that one day the world will unite in compassion for the good of all animals everywhere.

Animals have much to teach us about happiness and the Reiki precepts. They model the importance of letting go and living in the present moment. I talk more about this idea in the following video, with the exotic animals of The CARE Foundation in Florida as inspiring examples:

What secrets to happiness have your animals taught you?

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