“Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” – George Eliot


The animal kingdom has something to teach us, it seems. Author and spiritual teacher Stephen Levine began collecting, at age 70, stories of encounters with animals who taught him life lessons.

Out of these experiences, a slim new book has been published. ‘Animal Sutras – Animal Spirit Stories,’ is a fast read and a glimpse into a world rarely acknowledged.

Levine believed that the animals he met in his daily travels were fated to teach him truths about his life and the life of the planet. The stories in the book detail how Levine learned about forgiveness from a salamander, greed from a crab, and meditation from a green snake. Sound unlikely? I’m not so sure. Animals, after all, have a consciousness that’s unfettered by the thinking or reasoning mind. This has to put them at an advantage in living in the present moment – something I can always practice.

Exercise: Consider the animals of all kinds you’ve met with lately. Could any of them have a message for you? If an encounter comes to mind, try writing about it. What did you learn?

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