By Sun Mi Kim
Going through a re-evaluation of my world-view, I've often wondered what it meant to be "One with Everything." Though this is huge concept gets fleshed out with heartfelt emotions during meditative states, I've noticed gaping chasm between my beliefs and day-to-day thoughts. In striving to get behind this well-worn aphorism, I contacted Sharon Callahan - an inter-species communicator who "speaks" to animals - to get a better understanding of the real role that animals play in our lives and how we can re-vision our relationship with them.
Q: How did you come to be an Interspecies Communicator?
A: I was born with a gift for communicating with animals. I could always tell what animals were thinking, feeling and communicating, what they needed and what was hurting them. I was a very solitary child and always felt most at home with animals and nature. I have been communicating with animals all my life. I have never "learned how" or taken a class in animal communication--it has simply always been a part of me. People often ask me how I chose to be an animal communicator. I didn't choose, but rather I feel I was chosen for the task and I have devoted my life to serving as a voice for our non-human brothers and sisters.
Q: How do you know it's not just your imagination?
A: When I was a child I was considered to have an overly active imagination, but I never doubted that the communications that I received from animals were real. As an adult I have studied meditation most of my life and have learned to calm my mind, emotions and imagination to more fully facilitate clear unbiased perception of what the animals want and need to communicate. I have also changed my life to facilitate clear perception by not watching television, reading newspapers and magazines and generally disconnecting from the bias of collective thought.
Sun: Do animals have souls? Should we treat them the way we treat humans?
A: I believe not that we have souls, but that we are living souls and that the body is part of the soul rather than the other way around as most people believe. The soul chooses to come into a particular form so that it might have certain experiences. I believe that some souls choose to take a physical form as an animal to experience life from the perspective of that particular form. It seems obvious to me that all living things, including non-human animals, insects, plants, trees and even rocks, stars and planets are living souls with consciousness. It is my experience that all things have consciousness to some degree.
Q: What takes place when you communicate with an animal? Do you have to be with the animal to do it?
A: Most all of my work is done long distance over the phone with the animal's human companion or guardian. In most cases, the person sends ahead a photograph of the animal. Through looking at the photograph and through talking with the person for a few minutes I get an 'attunement' to the individual animal. I then ask the animal what it wishes to communicate to the person. Sometimes the person has questions for the animal about how it feels or about certain behaviors. The animal is usually very willing to answer questions and often can give the person a great deal of insight about its purpose in the persons life. The animals do not have to be with me for me to communicate with them, in fact I often communicate with animals who are no longer living. Animals are telepathic by nature (the word telepathy means to feel at a distance) they respond instantly to loving thoughts directed toward them no matter what the distance and can respond in kind. Loving communication transcends all limitations of time and space, instantly being felt throughout the universe in all realms and dimensions. For this reason, prayers and loving wishes are received by an animal even after death, for the soul of the animal lives on and the soul feels, receives and responds independently of the body.
Q: You mention on your web site that communicating with another species is a matter of merging. How do people get to that state? What is keeping most people from merging with other species?
A: One reaches a state of merging through the practice of meditation or centering prayer through which over time one learns to quiet the mind and emotions allowing the presence of God to be felt. When we experience the Presence of the Divine in this way we also perceive the Divine in other living things. When the mind and emotions have settled and are still, a space is created for the reception of communication from other beings. What keeps most people from merging with other beings is simply that they have not created receptivity to communication by stilling their minds so that communication can occur. The minds of most people are chattering away constantly, so other beings cannot get through. It would be like trying to talk to someone who is already engaged in conversation with several other people. To communicate with other beings it is also necessary to love them deeply and want to know about them, to want to merge with them and experience their perspective.
Q: But it's so ingrained in us to think of animals as different than us, lesser than us. We eat them, consider them as pets subordinate to our wishes. It's difficult to think of wanting to see the world from their perspective - especially if you believe (as much of our culture does) that animals are a less evolved life form. Do you have any suggestions for people who want to re-vision their relationship with animals?
S: We must remember that we are animals. Non-human animals are different than us of course, but not lesser, any more than one nationality of people is less than another. I have always thought of animals as my equal and have always desired to see the world from their perspective. This is why animals feel safe communicating with me. And I do not eat them or wear their skin for clothing. Although many would consider my perspective a radical one there are many, many individuals who feel as I do and I am busy full time talking with animals for people. The people who call me to communicate with their animals are almost always already aware that animals can communicate.
Q: What kind of people have you communicate with their animals? Why do these people want you to communicate with them?
S: Most of my human clients are well educated professional people, doctors, veterinarians, psychotherapists, celebrities, and ordinary people who love their animal companions deeply. Often people call me because a beloved animal is ill or dying and they want to know from the animal's perspective how to help it. Some people call because an animal is behaving in a way that is not pleasing to them and they want to communicate with the animal about the behavior. Sometimes a person calls simply because they love the animal deeply and want to know more about the animal's view of life. Many of the people who call me have been referred by their veterinarian. I have a very good rapport with veterinarians, because the information I receive from animals helps them with diagnosis and resolving behavior difficulties.
Q: What role do humans have in creating illnesses in their animal companions?
A: This is a huge subject. Animals absorb and reflect the energy of the environment in which they find themselves. If the environment is a healthy, peaceful and beautiful one it is likely that the animals living in such an environment will be healthy, peaceful and beautifully healthy. If the environment is one of chaos, strife and imbalance the animals will reflect these qualities. On some occasions an animal who loves a person will consciously take on and manifest the persons illness in an attempt to help them. I see this quite often in my work. For example a woman named Anne called me about her young cat Jeffrey. Jeffrey was barely two years old and was exhibiting signs of kidney failure. None of the veterinarians could figure out why this was so. Jeffrey was a house cat so it was not possible that he had gotten into something that might have damaged his kidneys. Anne read an article I had written on animals absorbing human illness and had wondered about her own kidneys. She had been suffering for years from low energy and depletion and had stopped working as a result. When I communicated with Jeffrey he communicated to me that Anne had been sick ever since he came to live with her and that he was trying to "fix her." I suggested to Anne that she have a kidney function test run on herself. She did this to find that she was in the early stages of kidney failure. She began treatment. Several months later when she recovered Jeffrey became the picture of health as well, without any treatment at all! I see this kind of thing all the time. In another case a dying child had a kitten as a companion. The kitten spent countless hours on the child's bed and often refused to leave even to eat. When put out doors, the kitten would throw itself repeatedly at the child's window in attempts to get back inside. The child eventually died and several months later the cat died of the same very rare form of leukemia. Our animal companions want to help and protect us. Their attempts to protect us often far surpass anything we imagine.
Q: You mention on your web site that animals carry group memory in their cells - dogs, for instance, carrying the memory of centuries of abuse. How can we help heal this?
A: We can heal our relationship with the animals by not causing them harm now. We can do this by not eating them and by refraining from using cosmetics and other products that are tested on animals causing them terrible suffering. We can begin treating the animals in our lives and other animals with whom we come in contact with love and respect. Just as memories of abuse and neglect are recorded in the collective unconscious of each species, so too are our kindnesses and our love received and recorded. In this way, little by little our bond with the animals will be restored. The animals thus unencumbered will be able to share with us the full magnificence of their being.
Q: How do animals feel about being pets for people?
S: I don't like to refer to animals as pets. To me it diminishes
the profound nature of their work with us. I like to refer to them as animal companions. Animals take great joy in supporting and serving people, particularly if they are appreciated. It is well known that people who have animal companions are healthier and have less illness as they age, and that patients with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure by petting a cat or dog. There are dogs who are trained to act as 'ears' for hearing impaired people, guide dogs for the blind, dogs that can warn people of epileptic seizures in advance so that the person can lay down or take other necessary precautions. Sometimes the love of a dog or cat is the only available to an elderly person. Such animals are considered service animals, but it is my feeling that all animals are service animals. Each animal is in our life to serve us in some way seen or unseen. Being of service does not make them subordinate to us. As human beings we, too, come to Earth to be of service in some way. We forget, the animals do not forget. In my writing I often refer to the "Ministry of Animals." I feel that animals are a sacred ministry on Earth. When not appreciated, or when feeling that they have no real purpose in our lives, animals often get sick, and sometimes die, for they have come for only one reason...to serve. Even wild animals perform tremendous acts of service. Think of it...the awe inspiring beauty of a family of deer in the forest, or the hawk whose upward flight catches the eye at that very moment of inner darkness. Are these not acts of service as well?
Q: It's often said that animals grow to look like the people they live with. Do you have any thoughts on this?
A: Because animals absorb our thoughts, emotions and physical states they often take on our characteristics. So, yes, this can be true!
Q: What is the single-most important thing we can do for our animal companions?
A: The single most important thing we can do for our animal companions and all animals is to love and respect ourselves enough to make our lives peaceful, beautiful and sacred For as our lives become peaceful, beautiful and sacred we will begin to treat all living things in a sacred manner. As we do this our animal companions will become peaceful and will experience a sacred life along with us. Our love will then begin to expand outward and a "ripple effect" will occur, our circle of love and respect will merge with the circles of love created by other people and soon the Earth will transform.
Q: Is there an overarching message that the animal kingdom has for humans?
A: The animals want us to love ourselves, for they know that all the world problems - all the cruelty in the world - occurs because we have forgotten that we are divine beings and we do not love ourselves. This lack of self love gets projected outward on other beings and the environment itself. When I communicate with a companion animal, the animal's questions about their person often run something like this, "Why doesn't she love herself more? Why doesn't she have more fun? Why is she so sad? Why doesn't she take better care of herself?" Animals understand that the transformation of the world begins at home. They want us to love ourselves, have fun, be happy, and take care of ourselves. They understand that transforming the world begins at home. They want their home to be happy.
In many of the Native traditions it is said that in this time the "council of animals" is meeting and that the animals are very worried about human beings. They are trying very hard to get through to us. The animals want to say, "Please listen to us. Time is running out. Please love yourselves, Please love us. Please love the Earth. Love is the answer no matter what the question. Love is all that matters."