Spiritual Purpose of Pets - The Art of Living Retreat Center

The Deeper Spiritual Purpose of Pets

By Robert Schwartz
January 14, 2019

Spiritual Purpose of Pets - The Art of Living Retreat Center

Remembering your true nature

The process of placing our energy within a body, and in so doing forgetting that we are vast, majestic, Divine Beings made literally from the energy of Unconditional Love, is akin to being struck on the head by a heavy tree branch and rendered unconscious, only to awaken with no memory whatsoever. What would happen if you actually had such an experience? All who love you, each member of your family, every dear friend, would come to your side and express great love for you. Though you would recognize none of them, their powerful outpouring of concern and affection would touch you deeply. You would conclude that only a truly loving person could be so beloved. And in that instant of realization, you would know, beyond any doubt, your true nature.


Such is the role pets play in our lives. In my book Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born, I share the story of Marcia, who chose before coming into body to be a dwarf. In this lifetime Marcia is but 1.4 meters (less than 5 feet) tall. Marcia knew before she was born that people would reject and dismiss her because of her height, and she chose this difficult experience to foster her spiritual growth. She then built into her courageous plan a safeguard: she would always have the unconditional love of her pets. These animals are part of her pre-birth planning session. Her future dogs (Dusty, Brutus), cats (Snowflake, Goofy, Willie), rooster (Crooked Beak), and horse (Cheetah) all pledged in her planning session to support and care for her even when her fellow humans do not. Because she also planned to be clairaudient in this lifetime, Marcia has always been able to hear her pets’ thoughts when they communicated with her.


Only we who are Love could be so beloved

Just as people with amnesia do not remember those who were in their lives before the forgetting, so, too, do we not recall the pets who were with us before we were born. Yet, our pets come to our side and express their great love for us, reminding us daily that only we who are Love could be so beloved. And they remind us not only that we are loved but also that we are worthy of love. When Marcia came home from school and cried over the cruel words from the other children, Dusty was there to tell her she was perfect, that she “could always come home, and I would be there, and I would love you.” Cheetah also reminded Marcia that she was worthy of love: “It doesn’t matter what they say. Look what you and I can do together! Get on! Let’s go!” And so they would ride like the wind, the smallest of children on the largest of horses, both free and safe, in love with life and each other.


The healing power of pets

Pets also bring healing. Indeed, our animal companions are master healers, in part because they embody love in an entirely nonthreatening form. The clear absence of threat creates within us a willingness to receive healing. We may fear accepting love from another person, but Marcia had no such fear with Brutus or Snowflake. When Marcia’s mother lay ill in the hospital, Brutus, tail wagging and big ears flopping, was a healing balm for Marcia’s heavy heart. When Marcia’s mother returned Home, it was Snowflake who healed Marcia’s grief, saying, “My job with her is done. Now I need to take care of you.”

How do pets heal us? There is no greater healing power in the Universe than that of unconditional love. Yet, beyond unconditional love, pets heal by transmuting energies. Even when we feel weak and small, our pets still come to us for care and so remind us that we are strong enough, capable enough to provide it. Even when we are enmeshed in anger or blame, they sit joyfully at our side, radiating contentment and instilling peace within us. When we feel shame, guilt, or unworthiness, they look at us and see only perfection. Our pets see us as light, the light of which we are literally made, the light we knew ourselves to be before we were born. When we lose sight of our magnificence, they remind us of it.


Companions across lifetimes

Sometimes a loved one, even a spirit guide, will incarnate as a pet because it is the best, and perhaps only, way to share a lifetime with us. I have a close friend who planned not to have children in this lifetime. A soul she loves and who loves her dearly incarnated as her dog so they could complete the mother-daughter relationship they shared in a past life as Native Americans. Both had been healers in other past lives, and they continued their healing work together in the current lifetime. My friend often brought her dog into healing sessions with clients, many of whom commented that they felt healed by the animal’s presence.

Ultimately, whether it’s Willie reminding Marcia to have fun, Goofy caring for Marcia and so healing her grief after Snowflake’s death, Brutus teaching compassion and kindness, Snowflake modeling independence, or Dusty, Cheetah, and Crooked Beak loving a little girl who just needed acceptance and friendship, each of these animals came to Marcia to love her and to receive her love. When we choose to take human form on the physical plane, our primary intent is to learn how to give and receive love. We select Earth as the school in which we will learn this lesson because here there are teachers who have mastered it. We call them dogs and birds, cats and horses. Yet, Love by any other name is still Love.


Rob Schwartz hosts Awakening To Your Life Purpose at the Art of Living Retreat Center from May 17th-19th, 2019.


Rob Schwartz specializes in Past Life Soul Regressions and Between Lives Soul Regressions. He is the author of a number of bestselling books which have been translated into 24 languages — including Your Soul’s Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born. He has worked with gifted mediums and delved into channels which allowed him to research pre-birth plans and develop methods to reconnect with them. Schwartz teaches internationally and offers individual spiritual guidance sessions; you can find out more at www.yoursoulplan.com


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


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TAGS: emotional healing , past lives , pets , reincarnation , Robert Schwartz , spirituality
You Matter to the Universe - Art of Living Retreat Center

You Matter to the Universe

By Robert Peng
December 18, 2018

You Matter to the Universe - Art of Living Retreat Center

Of all our relationships, one stands apart in its ability to inspire and mystify—our relationship to the universe—but most of the time we remain as unaware of the star-speckled space enveloping us as the wallpaper in our living room.


The universe is the pillar that sustains everything in existence, including all our relationships, but despite the pivotal role it plays, we hardly notice it at all. We identify passionately with our private property, neighborhood, country, or even the whole planet, but tend to remain oblivious to the boundless depth of starry space that stretches out endlessly in all directions around us.

“Through us the universe has grown arms and legs and has become self-aware….When you move, the universe stirs. When you sing, the universe dances. And when you cry, the universe sheds a tear.”

But if you stood under the vaulted heavens on a crisp summer night, gazed up, and became aware of the shimmering planets, stars, and galaxies that pixilate the vastness of space, what would you experience? Would you feel like a detached, insignificant spectator standing on a lonesome planet observing a meaningless mass of twirling matter from the fringes? Or would you feel a deep, personal, and heartfelt connection with those sparkling lights?


How do you really feel about the universe? Do you feel at “home” in it, or are you just a “homeless drifter” passing through? And if you imagined the universe as a giant being staring back at you as you gazed out at it, how do you imagine this being might feel about you? Does the universe relate to you with a sense of wonder, mystery, and awe, or as a meaningless mite on a planetary mote swirling in a galactic cauldron lost in immeasurable time?


The universe is your true family

As a rule, many of our deepest personal issues derive from our own early home environments. If we felt safe in our homes and were closely bonded to our kin, we are more likely to fully express ourselves in healthy ways as adults. But if our home life was fraught with fear, apathy, or uncertainty, we are more likely to shut down and close off in our dealings with the world later on. This rule also applies to the way we relate to the universe, our greater home, but on a larger scale.


The entire spiritual enterprise is founded on the notion that you matter to the universe more than you can ever imagine. In the broadest sense the universe is your mother, the stars are your ancestors, and space is your home, literally! The universe is your primordial family. Against the wildest odds, you won the cosmic lottery by being born a human being—a prize of inestimable value that is precious beyond all conceivable measure—and for this reason, the universe cherishes you as dearly as the most nurturing parent adores their child. This family loves you; this “home” welcomes you.


When we develop a loving, trusting relationship with Father Sky and Mother Earth, we awaken a universal love in our hearts that spans the breadth of the cosmos. We can then plug the network of all our human relations—even those that are flawed—right into that source and let them bask in the healing energy. In the process of developing a loving relationship with the universe, we inadvertently heal many of our own childhood traumas.


Through you, the universe evolves

Our insatiable urge to learn more about matter, life, and human nature represents the universe’s desire to know itself. Through our hands and eyes, the universe finally developed the ability to hold up a mirror and see its many faces. When an astronomer points a telescope at the starry canvas of space, the universe is admiring itself; when a biologist stumbles on a new species, the universe discovers another part of its body; when a philosopher elucidates the human condition, the universe becomes more knowledgeable about itself; and whenever a spiritual practitioner becomes enlightened, the universe realizes its own primordial nature.


Through us the universe has grown arms and legs and has become self-aware. Through us evolution has become self-directed. The rest of the animal kingdom is propelled into the future by the blind momentum of its evolutionary past, but we are not pushed forward from behind. We can conceive realities that do not yet exist and steer our own futures toward them—we control our destiny.


There is pain and pleasure in awakening

In pursuing our human destiny we offer the universe meaning, and through our fulfillment, we bring it happiness. But the universe also wallows in our sorrows. While striving to actualize a purposeful life, we stumble and fall repeatedly. We collect physical bruises and emotional scars that bleed and ache, sometimes for an entire lifetime.

In the midst of that pain, it is not unusual to forget who we truly are and feel stuck out in the middle of nowhere, without a clear sense of direction, overwhelmed by the hugeness of the cosmos and the seemingly insignificant space that we occupy in it.


Of all the species inhabiting the planet, only one can claim existential anguish as one of its defining characteristics: human beings. Elephants don’t suffer sleepless nights contemplating their purpose in life. Birds don’t need to read self-help books to discover their rightful place in the natural order. Crocodiles don’t require years of therapy to heal their broken hopes and dreams.


At its low point, the human condition becomes like a Greek tragedy in which the protagonist is blessed with a gift that is also a curse. That gift is our higher consciousness and the promise of the meaningful, fulfilling life that it can bring. But when we lack a sense of destiny or the energy to pursue it, then life becomes an unending nightmare from which we can’t wake up. That is the curse of being born human.


Despite the high hopes we place on finding happiness at some point in our future, the sad truth is that many of us leave this Earth still waiting to find it. But having a spiritual practice can help you avert that dismal fate. Your life can become a joyful, meaningful journey.


Your eyes are the eyes of the universe. Your heart is the heart of the universe. Your body is the body of the universe. When you move, the universe stirs. When you sing, the universe dances. And when you cry, the universe sheds a tear. The universe has awaited eons to awaken in you. It continues to evolve through you, right here and right now. As you sow seeds of creativity in the flowering garden of the world, realize that—frail creature that you are—you also soar as a god.


Rediscover the universe inside of you and your place in the universe. Robert Peng hosts Qigong Empowerments for Wisdom and Vitality at the Art of Living Retreat Center from March 17th-22nd, 2019.


Presenter Bio Image

Robert Peng is a Qigong master who, as a boy in China, secretly apprenticed under the legendary Buddhist monk Xiao Yao. Yao trained him in the martial and healing arts – a training which included 100 days of meditation and fasting in a dark, underground chamber deep in the mountains of the Chinese countryside. Later, Robert discovered that he had developed spiritual powers – including the ability to transmit powerful energy from his hands. He now offers a distillation of his training in the form of Qigong Empowerments, with the intention of enhancing the well-being and quality of life of his students.


This article was adapted from The Master Key: Qigong Secrets for Vitality, Love, and Wisdom by Robert Peng.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


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TAGS: emotional healing , purpose , qigong , Robert Peng , spirituality , wellness
Inner Light - Art of Living Retreat Center

Celebrating Light Illuminates the Dark Days of Winter and Dark Nights of the Soul

By Lisa Cypers Kamen
December 4, 2018

Inner Light - Art of Living Retreat Center

It is precisely because we resist the darkness in ourselves that we miss the depths of the loveliness, beauty, brilliance, creativity, and joy that lie at our core.” ― Thomas Moore


Life is never static and change is the only guarantee.

As the holiday season comes upon us, many people experience winter blues. Perhaps it is triggered by shorter days, longer nights or even the holidays themselves reminding us that we might not have a picture perfect Hallmark family unit. Regardless of the reasons, the effects are quite similar for people: lethargy, sadness, loneliness, apathy, fear, and so on. If these emotions are something you struggle with- especially during the holiday season- heed some simple advice on how you can celebrate the Light to illuminate such dark days.


The dark night can be a beautiful experience

If you talk to those who have been through some “dark nights of the soul”, they will tell you now that they can look back upon the experience and see the beauty of such. Now back then when they were enduring the darkness, they did not see or feel beauty. Nope, they felt pain and hopelessness. They felt suffering. They felt some agony in their souls. Unbeknownst to them at the time, their egos or false Self was being obliterated, which produces some pain.

But as they endured their dark season, they came out a refined and purified soul full of radiant Light. They’d learned some valuable life and spiritual lessons through the sacred process. Think of it as a spiritual detox, as the pain that they’d been stuffing and carrying for years and years finally surfaced and had been dealt with and as a result, they felt lightened, refreshed, and born again.


Celebrate the light

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza, you too can celebrate the Light that is within you in order to illuminate any darkness you may be contending with. You do not have to go into the holidays with a hampered spirit and come out the same way. Take this time as a sacred journey to face any pain or negative emotions that you’ve been stuffing and sit with them a minute. Acknowledge them and let them know you feel them, but then purpose to let them go. The rebirthing process is a letting go of the old and embracing the new and just as childbirth requires some pain, that pain is forgotten the moment that precious new baby makes its entrance into the world.

As such, as you look to your Light this holiday season and trust that the Light is well equipped to shine a bright light on your path, you can certainly give birth to a new you. Bear down and give birth to your new self that is healed and whole, full of radiant Light and Love, and ready to offer such to those around you.

Know that you are not alone this holiday season.

  • If you feel alone in the darkness, look for the light switch and turn it on.
  • As you’re making your way to that Light, offer gratitude for all the good in your life, as this will help you on your journey.
  • If you need, reach out for help. People do care about you.

Dark nights don’t last forever; the daylight comes at its designated time, so persevere and know that plenty of others have gone before you. They are now cheering you on and rooting for you to look to bust through the dark into the glorious Light show.
You can do it.


Cold, dark night? Turn on the light

As the dark and cold days of winter approach, many people take note that they are not only contending with the dark physical realm, but many also content with the cold, dark spiritual realm. They feel like they are blindly crawling through the darkness searching for the Light. They feel sad, lost, and maybe even hopeless. If this sounds like you, know that just as winter is but only for a season, so is the dark night of the soul. As you endure the season, learning valuable lessons that can only be learned in the dark, you come to the Light fully ready to embrace newness. You’re reborn, so to speak, and more grateful than ever to see the sunshine.


Happiness doesn’t have to be a fleeting emotion. Learn how to handle emotional fluctuations and increase your resiliency through film, music, storytelling, and movement: Lisa Cypers Kamen hosts Harvesting Happiness at the Art of Living Retreat Center from May 17th-19th, 2019.


Lisa Cypers Kamen is a lifestyle management consultant who explores the art and science of happiness in her work as a speaker, author, and happiness expert. Through her globally syndicated podcast, books, media appearances, and documentary film, Kamen has impaced millions of people around the world. Learn more at HarvestingHappiness.com. 


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


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TAGS: emotional healing , holidays , light , Lisa Cypers Kamen , loneliness , Love , spirituality , unhappiness

Exploring Wisdom: Three Things Your Loved Ones are Trying to Tell You

By Jennifer Farmer
July 5, 2018

Loved Ones - Art of Living Retreat Center

Since I work with Spirit World full time, I get to share a lot of messages to people. I’ve witnessed first hand profound mental and emotional healing that comes as a result of hearing from your loved ones.


What your loved ones want you to know

One consistent thing that is shared is “I love you!” Clients, friends and family, have told me that hearing three words have brought comfort and lifted their grief. The second message is consistent is I’m OK. I know this sounds simple and straightforward. But imagine the positive impact of knowing your loved one is OK. Knowing that your loved ones are OK gives you the freedom heal and be happy, for them and for you. The third most important message they say is I’m still here. Since they are now a spirit body, not a physical body, they look for ways to get this message to you. They use different methods to get this message through to you. They show up in your dreams, put coins and feathers in your path. They work with nature and electronics in unique ways that you can’t explain, but you know its them because of the underlying feeling or sense that you feel when it happens.


Bottom line, they want to bring you healing and comfort any way they can. They check in with you, so you know they are in their new spirit home, at peace and still with you. They want to help know their spirit is alive and lives beyond this world and you can talk to them and share your life with them.


Healing through Spirit

On a personal note, getting a message from my dad resolved 12 years of grief. Hearing from my father healed me emotionally in ways that I didn’t even know needed healing. I was so afraid of going through the pain of loss, I held back from getting too close to people. One of the positive results, I was able to slowly let go of my fear of loving and getting close to people.


It’s been over 20 years since he moved to the other side. I still send mental voicemails to him, asking him to let know he’s still with me. He’s kinda slow in getting back to me, but he always lets me know he is still with me. I’m still relieved and comforted when he finally returns my request. I’ve come to realize and trust that the Spirit World is intelligent and has great timing.


Over the past 10 years, Jennifer Farmer has helped people heal grief through readings and development workshops. She is well respected and a recognized leader in her field as gifted intuitive, medium and spiritual teacher. In 2008, Jennifer earned the seal of approval as one of the best psychic mediums. She continues to study new teachings and regularly attends workshops, including the Arthur Findlay College in the UK.


Access your gifts from Spirit and create a new Spirit-powered life with Jennifer at the Art of Living Retreat Center from October 4th to October 7th, 2018 at her retreat, Healing With the Spirit World.


This article first appeared on jenniferfarmer.com.

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


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TAGS: emotional healing , exploring wisdom , Jennifer Farmer , loved ones , psychic , spirit , spirit world

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