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In our purpose of growth and evolution, we need assistance, not just from fellow humans but also from animals (including birds and sea creatures, referred jointly below as animals), and plants. Without their assistance, growth of human spirit is not possible.

It is no coincidence that humans feel a connection with animals and also find emotional recourse in them. In engaging with nature; water, sea, sand, mountains, woods, open skies- all places inhabited by animals- humans receive comfort and joy.

In the cultural metaphysical texts of Hindus, animals receive respect and equanimity; lord Shiva with the snake, Ma Laxmi with the owl, lord Ganesha with the mouse, and so on. Thousands of year-old yogic postures are inspired by, and named after, animals and plants such as makar asana, bhujang, matysa, ustra, tad asana etc.

Lessons from nature

When humans don’t respect creatures of nature, their growth and evolution process is at stake. Since the dawn of humanity, animals have provided sustenance and offered companionship. Their presence is a help from the Divine to us humans in aiding our spiritual awakening process.

Lessons of love, compassion, independence, integrity, courage and letting go are a few qualities that can be learnt from animals. They do not harbour feelings of revenge, (or to avenge), engage in complain, self-pity, victimisation, or suffer from lack of self-worth, self-esteem or act out of greed, anger, or display sarcasm, arrogance, neither do they gossip or backbite; these low-vibration traits are essentially human, operating from ego-based consciousness. The creatures of nature operate through instinct, which simply means following their innate wisdom to survive. There’s no hidden agenda.

In our awakening journey, animals are powerful allies. They teach by their way of “be-ing”, there are no sermons. For instance, cats teach independence and curiosity, lions teach strength, crows, patience and problem- solving skills, bats, adaptability and resilience, ants relay lessons in self-management, bees in energy optimisation and so on. If one pays attention, life lessons are easy to learn.

Some individuals hold deep resonance with certain animal/s. This is because animals are symbolic manifestations of an individual’s primal psyche or simply, their own core, the essence. For example, one may find deep resonance with lions, as in essence, his/her spirit quality resonates with courage. Or may be with hawk, if one resonates with visionary ability, or with dragonfly if one connects with transformation, with playfulness and harmony as one admires dolphins. This is an individual’s spirit resonance with his/her spirit animal.

Your spirit is connected

Every human has a spiritual connection to animals and plants. Animals/birds don the role of a spiritual ally to oversee and aid in one’s spiritual transformation.

In times of need and grief, animals/birds make appearances to console our spirit. If one finds a bird /animal suddenly making frequent visits during a gloom and doom period, one can consider them as signs of help sent. Movies such as ‘A street Cat Named Bob’, ‘Marley and Me’ and the recently released ‘Penguin Bloom’ — all inspired by real life — are a few examples that captures this spirit connection.

Sometimes, animals appear in dreams carrying messages of love and consolation. They act as our spirit guide. In tumultuous times, they come to ‘hold space’ for us unconditionally, helping us to heal. Pets such as dogs have known to save owners lives, share burdens of chronic disease in solidarity and ‘guard’ their keepers.

Being in the company of animals is therapeutic. Research shows that petting animals releases oxytocin (happy heart hormones) and serotonin (mood stabiliser hormones) while lowering cortisol, stress chemicals.

So, who is your spirit animal? How can you connect? Well, all one needs is awareness and some degree of sensitivity. Pausing from hustled lives and spending time in their company and in nature, helps in cultivating connection.