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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thich Nhat Hanh's Humerous Yet Wise Ego Lesson.


I admire his sense of humor when conveying this deep subject because it breaks down our ego's defenses. As the wise, Theravada monk, Ajahn Sumedho says, "We need humour to point to the absurdity of our self-obsession." Humor helps us view the world with less fear by boldly pointing out the silliness of the world itself!!

~peace to all beings~


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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Therapeutic Role of Animals: Dogs Help Victims Testify in Court.

James: Animals are perfect for therapy because their instincts and intuition are heightened to allow them to survive in the wilds of nature. Animals often instinctively know when turbulent weather (or even natural disasters) will strike, before humans do. This intuition enables them to detect subtleties in human behavior.

As I've said before, I often struggle with depression. Well, one day, I was visiting my parents, who care for my sister's dog while she's at work. I began talking about my depression with my parents and at one point, began to cry. Immediately, my sister's little dog, Maya, walked over to me and jumped up on my legs. Then she stretched her little body vertically across my stomach and rested there while trying to lick my face. She instinctively knew that I was hurting and rushed to my side. Her and I have shared a strong bond for a lot of years, and she's a joy and a gift to me.

I had a similar experience with my brother's dog during a bout of depression, and crying over Christmas. I retreated to the basement because all the commotion and stimuli from the party was overwhelming. Yet it depressed me knowing I was missing the family time. Well, not long after I went downstairs, my brother's little dog, Weston, appeared and sat right at my feet. He stayed there the whole time I was lying on the couch. It was like he was watching over me and trying to comfort my emotional turmoil.

Therefore, I'm not at all surprised that these therapy dogs are helping calm victims of crime, so that they can be strong in court. Animals aren't simply here as "scenery" and food. They are our cousins, family, teachers and guides. Animals teach us in so many ways and I think that is partly because they are close to being reborn into the human realm. Or, perhaps they were a human in a past life and therefore are able to respond to human behavior. It could also be the connection we share on the animal level, since all of us who believe in past lives spent time in the animal realm. If we are open to what we experienced and learned in our animal lives then I think our understanding of animal rights will expand too. Maybe it's simply the bond we share of being interconnected as sentient beings. One things is sure, animals are smarter than some humans
believe.

I'll finish with this closing thought; animals give us great opportunities to practice our compassion and abilities to care for those who are the most vulnerable. In the past, animals have been an easy target for human exploitation because of their natural innocence. I have found that a good indicator of a person's compassion is to see how they treat animals. If they are mean to animals, then it's likely they treat humans poorly, as well. In some ways, an animals vulnerability is a test for the many powers of humanity; as the saying goes, "With great ability comes great responsibility." We know that we are all interconnected (even science teaches this concept). So, as go the animals, so go humanity. We can't survive as humanity if we allow animals to be eradicated (or abused) through our excessive greed for land, money and power.

~peace to all beings~

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