I think that we can learn a lot about our state of mind and heart by observing our pets, if we have them. Animals and reptiles don't lie, or at least not well - and they reflect back to us the energy we put out. I am particularly aware of this with my snake, Timmy.
Timmy is generally a very approachable and sweet snake, and enjoys coming out to explore and gain some warmth by wrapping over my shoulders or around an arm. He is a fairly curious and adventurous sort, and will willingly come out into my hands and arms if I open the door to his cage with little encouragement.
That is, of course, if I am in a mellow and calm mood. When I am at all agitated, very sad, or overly excited, at the most he will rest his head on my palm for a few moments before turning back into his space and resuming his laps around the aspen bedding. I find him to be a good barometer for how anxious I am. There are times I am so caught up in my head that I don't realize how worked up and far away I have gone until I try to visit with Timmy and he shuns me.
What is amazing, I find, is that if I take a few minutes to calm myself and have some success at it, he will fairly quickly change his mind and come over to see me. Perhaps all pets speak to us of our state of being, but reptiles speak such a simple language that it is a lot easier to understand when I am exuding dissonant energy.
My cat, Sherazade, will also reflect back my state of being, but because she is such a drama queen and talker, she is just as likely to fight with me as to ignore me. It's harder to see a reaction when it becomes a fraught dialog. When I pay attention, though, there is always a clear indication of how I am acting toward the world. If I am delightful and approach her with toys and treats, or take time to snuggle without being distracted by computers, TV or books, I am always met with adoration and purring that further fuels the warmth in my heart. If I am easily annoyed, every mew and fetched milk carton cap is exasperating, and she gets exasperated with me, too. We have had days of joy and days of icy glares coming from each of us as neither of us gets what we wanted from the other.
I think that paying attention to how I feel towards these everyday interactions would be a great way to become more conscious of what is going on for me, right here, right now. It would be a good way to become more centered and present in my body. My thoughts forever fly to the far reaches of the world, to alternate times and opportunities, to the past and near future. They are constantly trying very hard to envision what Is in an abstract sense, and what could be if I only do this or that thing. Silencing them or at least realizing that they are in no way helping my situation right now would be a blessing.
And so, I leave this post to focus on loving and petting the purring ball of fur on my knee, and to tap into how I feel at this moment, rather than how I feel about things that have happened already, or are yet to happen. How liberating!