“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.

4 thoughts on “Healing anger with the remarkable power of patience and love”

  1. I LOVE elephants. They are incredible and so many contend with so much due to the behaviour of humans.

    A few years ago, when I was still married, I realised the suggested ‘anniversary gift’ that year was ivory. Yuck! I spun it around and sponsored an elephant at a sanctuary a friend had visited. I hope one day in the long-distant future when I visit my friends out there, to visit the sanctuary too.

  2. Who are the animals in my life that teach me the power of patience and love? Right now, it’s a little under weight stray female cat I named Windy Willow. Anyone who has participated in some level of animal “rescue” (as if we are the heroes…) has likely felt the guilt of separating cat families in the name of “rescue.” Such experiences can be harsh. After all, a mother cat shows up out of the blue, with kittens, and ultimately if we don’t step in to “help” the cycle of breeding and breeding and breeding, just keeps happening. So we “rescue.” Such was the case with Windy Willow, unnamed when she first showed up very thin, back last September. She had three kittens. I began feeding them, and there were very feral, skittish and scurrying at my every move. Gradually I was able to start petting the babies, all under the watchful eye of their mother. All started gaining a bit in size, strength and trust. Then the unthinkable – I snatched two of the kittens from her. Then a few days later, the third. The kittens were just at the weight for early stage spays and neuters. I pulled this little family apart. Eventually I caught the mother. Due to her feral nature, she had to be a spay and release. Now it’s January. After ripping her family apart, Windy Willow comes every day for breakfast and dinner, and very soon I believe she will allow me to pet her, and perhaps one day she’ll decide to join me indoors. Such is the power of her patience and love – after all she’s been through. Every cat who’s come into my life has had a similar story – some more harsh than others. But these sweet creatures who never asked for their circumstances, are willing to eventually love and trust, completely and openly. Thank you for allowing me to share.

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