Our Animals Teach us Unconditional Love: Can we Learn to Love One Another the Same Way?

By Jo Singer

Our Animals Teach us Unconditional Love

Photo Credit: Flickr User: mizuo_fiat

When it comes to loving, Agape, otherwise known as unconditional love is its highest form. What makes this type of love so special and healing to the one that receives it is that it doesn’t matter if the love we are giving out is returned. Since we extend it freely – without any expectations or hidden agendas, Agape is both pure and simple.

If we have friends who are able to love us unconditionally we are truly blessed. And when we open our hearts to love others unconditionally, we too experience a moment of absolute joy that goes beyond description. But loving unconditionally is not easy. It takes a great deal of practice and mindfulness. If we are willing to learn how to fully open our hearts, it often requires incredibly gifted teachers to help guide us on our path to the reach this lofty goal.

These special teachers often appear to us in non-human forms. Perhaps this is main reason that animals are so precious to so many people. After all, animals are the most incredible practitioners of Agape, in the entire world.

After all, our beloved fur companions who love us don’t care if we are rich or poor; they could care less if we are physically attractive or highly intelligent. So isn’t it possible that all that matters to them is by loving us, they too experience love?

It is indeed unfortunate that many people continue to believe that inter-species “agape” love is just a pipe dream. For example – how many times do we hear those folks who are ignorant and prejudiced, tell us that dogs and cats are “natural enemies” and, as such, can never get along? And since they continue to believe this ageless myth, it’s impossible for them to believe that deeply rewarding relationships can and do occur between them?

The lyrics of the song, “You Have to be Carefully Taught” in the popular musical “South Pacific” hauntingly illustrate why it’s so difficult for us to love unconditionally.

“You’ve got to be taught from year to year,
it’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade.
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate.
You’ve got to be carefully taught!”

It is indeed fortunate for animals that no one bothered to instill them with these incredulous lies. Perhaps if the entire world could open to what animals can teach us, we would not find ourselves living on a planet that is so full of conflict and hate.

This piece was inspired by watching the beautiful video uploaded to YouTube by YAWHATEVER7. The music “I love you “ is performed by the Climax Blues Band.

Since our animals teach us so much about loving and the New Year is in its infancy, isn’t this the perfect opportunity to open our hearts and learn to love unconditionally? I would like to think so.

What are your thoughts? Please share them in a comment.

Jo

Photo Credit: Flickr User: mizuo_fiat

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Comments

Our Animals Teach us Unconditional Love: Can we Learn to Love One Another the Same Way? — 17 Comments

  1. Lovely article that reminds me of me – I mean people and how we often fail when it comes to unconditional love. I have a feeling that a lot people don’t really know what it means. People can tend to be a bit selfish.

    The best marriages are ones based on trust, acceptance and unconditional love where “love” does not mean “lust”.

    We certainly can learn from animals and DW knows that I have a soft spot for interspecies friendships.

    I have one in mind that I posted years ago.

    The post is about a cute relationship between deer and cat.

    There are many other examples on PoC of close interspecies relationships.

  2. Yes Agape is beautiful selfless love and only animals can ever truly feel that way. Even a saintly person like Mother Theresa was not as pure as an animal, it’s said she was not vegetarian because Roman Catholics believe animals are for people to eat.
    People can think and reason for themselves and must know it’s wrong for other living creatures to be born only to be killed, some live in dreadful conditions, some die horribly.
    Animals live by instinct, purely as Nature made them, yes they killed because they had to, some still have to, to survive.
    Sadly humans came along and took over the world and now it’s full of hate and wars and selfishness and cruelty. So to see a picture like the one above takes us to how the world should be and how all humans should be, whether rich or poor, black or white.
    Agape could save this world if every person practised it!

    • Ruth, I have a feeling that although we know what unconditional love is and it does exist between some individual people, it will never be used universally. Humans are just not made that way. Agape is a high ideal way out of our reach.

  3. yay – I’m back! Had a whole day with my cats yesterday and I feel much much better and they seem happy to see me actually!

    I love this article – it’s great. Jo really writes great articles. Thank you Jo.

    I think we all understand this very clearly because we all love our cats without any conditions. I know I do 🙂

    • I expect there was an outpouring of unconditional between you are your cats on your arrival. You should have videoed it so we could see what it looks like 😉

      Glad you are back. Hope you had a nice break. Happy New Year.

  4. What a refreshing article to read early in the morning. We can learn so much from animals, especially our family pets. Marvin came into Daisy’s life in her last year on earth, and it was beautiful to watch. I think Marvin knew she was ill, long before I did. The attached photo was posted before, but it is worth posting again. Sweet touch of the paw. (Michael, if it appears upside down, please fix it, and sorry!)

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    • DW I have done my picture rotation duties! One thing I particularly like about the picture is that they are touching paws. It is just touching, no more. Charlie does that with me. It is a very gentle and beautiful form of contact.

      How many spouses gently touch their partner daily, many times daily, just to remind them that they love them?

  5. What beautiful comments-

    How fortunate we are to have such amazing teachers in our lives- and how much we can learn not only from our furry companions, but from each other.

    I am so moved by the outpouring of support here on this site- it appears we are learning so much from our beloved animal companions- no matter what species they happen to be. Happy New Year to all..

  6. Echoing Ruth’s thoughts, definitely. And having been raised literally since conception “with cat,” I can testify to the pure, unadulterated, unconditional loyalty, patience and love cats have always given me. Sixty-seven cats have graced my life so far, and every one of them is a unique and precious jewel to me. My beloved parents and ancestors taught me about compassion, kindness, respect, and personal responsibility toward those who give us such unparalleled treasures. It goes out from there, not always successfully, I must admit; but it is Life Lesson #1 to be learned over a lifetime. Never stop learning. To me, that is the basis of faith, and the reason for living.

  7. What a lovely article, Jo. I always enjoy what you have to say. I know I have been the VERY lucky recipient of unconditional love from all of the cats who have shared their lives with me. I try hard to return it to them in the same fashion, as best I can.

  8. The picture is so very beautiful in every way and magnificently illustrates Jo’s point about pure love and the utter lack of “isms”— whether it’s racism, sexism, religionism, specism, or any other. So good to see you back in print, Jo!

  9. For the record “Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) means love in a “spiritual” sense. It is a Greek word for love. I didn’t know this but just looked it up.

  10. What a beautiful article, Jo. I surely do wish folks would learn from animals. They are so innocent and pure in their loving relationships. Here is a photo of my late Esther (cat) sleeping with her Collie buddy Magic. He still “looks” for her. He is blind, but he still noses around for her and I know he misses his bed buddy.

    • I makes me sad to think that Magic misses Esther. You can’t tell how much he misses her. You see signs. I’d bet he misses her more than we imagine. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Beautiful article. What greater love is there then when an animal give you their whole being heart and soul. Pure and perfect love. They don’t care if you are skinny or large or rich or poor or anything else. They just love us with every fiber of their being.

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