“With love and patience, nothing is impossible.” –Daisaku Ikeda
The animals of the world face many challenges these days. As much as I try to keep my focus on the good things, sometimes I can’t help but feel angry and helpless to make a difference. In times like these, my Reiki meditation practice helps me to find my balance again. One meditation I like to do is to meditate on the Reiki precept, “do not anger.” As I meditate on this, allowing my thoughts to come and go, my mind eventually comes to rest on the healing power of patience. Patience is quiet and calm. Patience is accepting. Patience is a profound state of “being” in the world. In many ways, patience is the opposite of anger. If we can remember patience when we feel angry, perhaps we can find healing.
To empower patience, we must also love. Animals are wonderful teachers of this, as it is often our love for them that helps us to be patient through difficult times. When animals are facing illness or healing from past trauma or abuse, patience can also serve us well. It helps us to open our hearts and “be” in a loving space with them when they are sick or suffering. To be patient and loving with animals, we must let go of the anger we might feel at their situations or anger at ourselves that we can’t change the situations to be better. Shifting out of anger, we can bring ourselves back to patience, and empower the patience with love from our hearts. This will create a space of trust and connection with the animals we love. In this space, we can see miracles of healing happen!
The story of Shirley the elephant is a wonderful example of the power of patience and love to heal. As you know, elephants live very long lives. Captured as a baby in the wild, she performed in circuses for 24 years (being terribly wounded there by another elephant who crippled her back leg, and then losing part of her ear in a fire) and then lived in complete isolation at a zoo for another 22 years. (Elephants are social creatures, so this must have been so difficult.) In 1999, she was brought to The Elephant Sanctuary to live in peace and contentment—and immediately became matriarch of the other elephants. She is such a wise and gentle elephant. She never lost her love and patience, even through all those years. When she arrived, she was reunited with Jenny after 22 years of separation—Jenny already lived at the sanctuary when Shirley arrived, and she hadn’t seen Shirley since she was a baby! It was an amazing and emotional reunion you can watch in this video:
Her story touched me very deeply, inspiring me to travel there in 2002 to teach Carol Buckley and two other staff members Reiki 1. I hoped to support them in helping to heal the elephants in their care. Believing I was there to help the elephants, how surprising it was to find that Shirley actually helped me. Seeing her living peacefully and contentedly at the sanctuary was wonderful. Realizing how she made it through all her years of difficulty with such patience and love was a wonderful spiritual example for me to emulate.
If she can do it, I can do it!
Who are the animals in your life that teach you the power of patience and love?
If you find you are still quick to anger, try these seven steps for reducing stress using martial arts.