OUR ENDLESS ESSENTIAL NATURE
One afternoon I arrived at a friend’s house to discover her in tears at news the vet had just given her. After her dog’s sudden breathlessness on the usual daily uphill walk, she’d taken him to the doctor who diagnosed lung cancer. Advanced and untreatable, it was terminal. Despite her gorgeous golden retriever looking perfectly healthy and behaving normally back at home now, he’d been given three months to live. Of course she asked me to communicate with him about his physical condition, emotional feelings and the difficult period ahead. My friend is also a realist who believes in miracles, so she wanted to know what intervention her dog wanted to heal the cancer and continue a full and healthy life.
When the telepathic conversation with the sweet dog turned to what his choice was, he conveyed the energetic message of wanting to leave his body and disperse into Oneness… like a pure white cloud gently dissolving and becoming one with the blue sky. I asked him if he wanted assistance in leaving his body - which is how I describe “euthanasia” to animals, because that’s what it amounts to on a practical level. He replied that it wouldn’t be necessary, because he was ready to go sooner rather than later, before physical suffering became an issue. He told me that the one and only thing needed for him to be able to transition naturally and peacefully would be his caregiver’s overt and conscious decision to let him go. When I duly passed on this message to her, my friend reacted badly. She was very attached to the idea of a miraculous cure for her beloved pooch; in fact as a healer herself, she insisted upon it! I was shouted at and then ignored, so I went off to bed without supper.
At around midnight my friend woke me, saying she’d prayed about the situation and realised that it wasn’t her place to hold another being back from their path, and that she indeed did have to let him go as an act of unconditional love. She wanted me to tell her dog that she was sincerely able to let him go, despite her enormous sadness. When I passed on her change of mind and heart to her canine companion, he was hugely relieved and all anxiety left his field. He also gave me an astonishing message: that he would leave his body within the next 12 hours, so if she wanted to be alongside him when he transitioned, she had better stay in his presence that very night. As this information was coming from a dog who was breathing normally at home, eating, drinking, playing and generally behaving like a completely healthy animal, it seemed outlandish. But I’ve long ago learned that another’s truth is not ours to edit in the retelling. So I once again passed along the message (somewhat nervously, you might imagine). Silently, with raised eyebrows and a quizzical look, my friend dragged a mattress through to the living room floor and set up a cosy bed next to her dog. I sat with them in stillness until they both fell asleep. At sunrise, my friend awoke – and her dog didn’t. He had slipped away quietly in the night, leaving his body furled in a forever-embrace in her loving arms.
This situation could not have been orchestrated, arranged or induced by human will. The moment we want something to be a certain way or in a certain timing, we humans are overriding what is busy unfolding naturally. Animals sense when their time is near. Yes, the survival imperative also exists and is relevant but animals don’t argue with the inevitable. They know that pain and suffering are a part of life. They have no resistance to that fact. Survival instinct is real, and so too is their acceptance of not surviving when the time is right. In general, they appreciate quality of life over quantity/length of physical life. They are tuned in to what is happening and the possible paths before them. Without will but rather with wisdom, they can choose accordingly. In the river of life, they can deeply surrender to the downstream flow – more easily when there aren’t competing “upstream” forces like human attachment or ideas holding them back.
We humans may wonder about animal behaviour that we witness around the time of dying. Often as an animal's body and awareness recede from the physical realm, they seek a quiet place in which to pass. Even the most domesticated of pets might try to crawl under a bush in the garden or hide somewhere. Physical dying is a very personal journey, and we'd do well to honour the one who wants space for those moments. We can support them emotionally and energetically without having to be touching them or disturbing them with sometimes overwhelming sensory stimulation, including our own human feelings.
When a beloved passes, the animal friends left behind often return again and again to places frequented by the deceased: whether the favourite dog blanket or the shady place on the lawn or the pile of elephant bones far away...
No matter what the species, animals know when a loved one has passed. Their visiting the familiar places is not a case of confusion or searching for the deceased. Rather, it's a form of remembrance. Sometimes even grieving.
In my experience, all non-humans view physical death simply as a transition in one’s state of being. It’s not an end at all. Even dropping the body is not an end as our essential, non-separate core continues beyond form. As Albert Einstein asserted:
“Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”
In the worldly and wondrous circle of life, our human bodies’ physical remains will one day be pushing up the daisies (as the saying goes) … or weeds or algae or other less romanticised lifeforms. “From dust to dust” isn’t merely a metaphor. What a treat to be able to conceptualise and appreciate these facts with our minds while we wear brains as part of our earthsuit. True Knowing, though, is a felt and lived internal experience. One thing is for certain: we will fully know the Mystery of our true nature at the moment of our transition beyond form. Our essence is eternal, and one day we will again abide in that infinite delight.