"Ask the very beasts, and they will teach you;
ask the wild birds - they will tell you; crawling creatures will instruct you,
fish in the sea will inform you: for which of them all knows
not that this is the Eternal's way, in whose control lies every living soul,
and the whole of man."
Meditation. It calms the nerves, feeds the soul. The practice has been around for eons, and it doesn't take a yogi to realize its benefits. Among other things, practitioners use it for centering, relaxing, increased focus, and for the promotion of physical, mental and spiritual health. One doesn't have to be a touchy feely new-agey crystal worshiping type to reap its benefits, but it can't hurt. Especially when applied to seemingly heterodox purposes.
Communication with All Life: Revelations of an Animal Communicator
by Joan Ranquet
Hay House, 2007
$16.99, 249 pp
The Casebook of Joan Ranquet
Joan Ranquet is on a mission. Her goal: To give voice to the voiceless in order to create harmony on this planet so the Earth can begin to heal itself. She's determined to help one million animals (and their people) this year alone by building an army of animal communicators and healers through her school, Communication With All Life University. A lofty goal for sure, but Ranquet's got a spot-on track record of achieving whatever she sets her mind to.
Communication with All Life: Revelations of an Animal Communicator is an autobiography as much as it is a teaching tool. Well written, Ranquet uses humor to sell her subject, poking fun at herself along the way. A lesser writer might come across as falsely self-effacing. Ranquet does not. She brings to the pages a truly genuine desire to help others. The author recounts how she almost ignored her calling, pursuing instead a career in acting, until little by little the pieces fell into place that would steer her into animal communication full-time. Communication is chock full of her successes, dealing with a gamut of issues from behavioral problems to people just wondering what's going on in the heads of their animal friends. Either way, the
outcome usually results in a deeper connection between human and animal.
Ranquet approaches animal communication through meditation. She draws on multiple traditions, customizing her meditation with the most effective elements of the Ancients. She's been known to quote The Bible and Buddha in the same breath. She sees no contradiction of traditions here, just different means of addressing the same thing: Energy. We - indeed everything - are made up of energy. The chair you sit on is vibrating at a wave-length unique to it. I, as I write this,
am vibrating at a wave-length unique to myself. Your cat, your horse, the mice of the field; all are unique in their vibrations. Energy is everything, and vice versa. Although we can create conduits for energy, energy in itself is uncontained. Constantly on the move, it flows and splashes and runs amok. Like a paintball pellet with a compromised membrane, left to its own devices energy leaks and makes a great big mess of everything. But energy is never foreign to energy. It may be
unfamiliar to itself - dark energy versus light - but it's all of the same source. With that in mind, it makes sense that we are all part of a collective consciousness, or as Ranquet calls it, One Mind.
The One Mind concept is a great reminder that we are all one, and it's a great place just to practice some basics of learning to receive feelings. Start by being aware of all that you are. Become aware of your breath for a moment and then of your entire being . . . [S]tart to get a sense of your entire field of energy, what's called the auric field . . . Your animal companion also has a surrounding field . . . imagine that the two fields - yours
and your animal's - are merging. As you exhale, send the animal love and see what comes back . . .
The next step in Ranquet's process, once connecting with the animal through One Mind, is to jot down impressions she's receiving from it. Ranquet has years of meditative practice under her belt, so she usually picks up on things pretty quick. Her "intuitive muscle" as she likes to refer to her psychic sense, is well developed from years of exercising it. She rejects the notion that some people are psychically gifted and others aren't. She insists all people are intuitive - it's just a matter of tapping into the energy available to everyone - but most people are lazy. Also, most animal behavioral problems
are the result of their people's bad habits. Correcting a problem is often as easy (or hard) as getting a person to think differently about the problem. Because intuition is a two-way street, we need to think positively about a problem, or better yet, wipe it from existence in our minds altogether, thus eliminating the risk of our animals mistaking our thoughts of concern for thoughts of expectation. Our companions want to please, and to that effort, in their confusion they may commit the very transgression we're trying to curtail.
We - indeed everything - are made up of energy.
The chair you sit on is vibrating at a wave-length unique to it.
I, as I write this,
am vibrating at a wave-length unique to myself.
Your cat, your horse, the mice of the field; all are unique in their vibrations.
Energy is everything, and vice versa.
That logic follows the thinking of Dr. Joseph Murphy, DRS, PhD, DD, LLD, author of the seminal self-help book, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind (Prentice Hall). In it he writes, "Whatever the conscious . . . believes, the subconscious mind will accept and act upon." It's a warning for us to rid our mind of the negative results we don't want to see, and concentrating instead on the positive results we do. It's no accident the active word in the title of Murphy's book is POWER.
As I read Communication, I found myself transported back to my childhood. Like the author, I grew up in a suburb on Seattle's eastside. I too, like the author, had horses and was convinced at an early age they were phenomenally psychic creatures. And it went without saying that I could talk to them, as well as rabbits, chickens, ducks, cows, dogs, cats, gerbils, guinea pigs, frogs, plants - anything you could throw at me, I could talk to. As I read, I became convinced that animal communication is the
norm, not the exception. What child doesn't know they can talk to the animals? There's a thing called muscle memory. It comes with repetition. It enables someone who hasn't danced in years to pick it up again - and look good doing it - right off the bat. It's how your best friend who used to do yoga can demonstrate a pose better than your instructor, and you hate her for it. That's muscle memory. Perhaps Ranquet's concept of intuition as a muscle isn't so far off. Because this feels like muscle memory to me.
by Deborah Grandinetti
Running Press, 2002
Illustrated by Stephane Denis
$4.95, 127 pp
Getting Into The 'Zone'
Writer Deborah Grandinetti together with Running Press Miniature Editions, has put together a book on meditation with the ironic title Instant Meditations. Ironic, because there is nothing instant about meditating. First, there's the process of getting situated. The author suggests designating a room or alcove just for meditating. It should be a space you feel comfortable in, removed from distraction. No television; loose clothing; a comfortable chair.
Next, RELAX. If you've never tried to force yourself to relax, you may be surprised at how difficult a task it can be. To begin, you must still your mind in order to reach that place of effective meditation. Grandinetti offers several techniques to accomplish this in order to "drop deeply into the 'zone'", a state in which "you feel absolute peace." Sounds appealing, huh?
Meditation Ala Carte
The strength of Instant Meditations is in its simplicity. The instructions are easy to follow (even for a novice), and for the practiced, Grandinetti offers meditations they may not have considered before. She provides a cornucopia of traditions from around the globe including Buddhism, Sufism, African, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, the Goddess religions, transpersonal psychology, and shamanism. Did I miss anybody?
The author suggests taking each meditation for a test drive and settling on the one with the best fit. Once you've found it, she recommends practicing it "at least once a day, preferably twice," with the promise "You will love the changes that you see."
Try Instant Meditations for peace, relaxation or whatever floats your boat. Try it to see the change you want to create for your life. Try it to create the change for your life you want to see. Or, just try it for the terrific full-color illustrations by Stephane Denis. Combined with Grandinetti's text, Instant Meditations is a great little book.