Karma. What is it? Who has it? And how can you tell? Can karma cross over species? Could your difficult, wayward or angelic pet be a karmic relationship? Shannon Cutts of Animal Love Languages addresses interspecies karmic relationships.
The word karma comes from the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit is so ancient it is lumped in with Latin, Gothic and Old Norse, among other functionally extinct precursor dialects from different parts of the developing world.
This is important to know because sometimes it can be hard to find direct translations between two different languages even for very modern words!
But from what linguists tell us, the word karma generally translates to mean “to act” or “action.”
In religious contexts, karma is often referred to as cause-and-effect type of action. Do this, get that. Do that, get this. This is also where the concept of karma as “good” or “bad” comes from.
Earlier in my life and spirit journey, I understood this to mean no karma is the best kind of karma. Then I met a teacher who explained that once we run out of karma, we are (ahem) dead. No karma = no need to be born to work it off.
It might sound a bit out there, but this is important. Because this points to a key fact – all relationships are karmic relationships. Even our relationship with ourselves is karmic!
Certainly our relationships with our pets are karmic.
After all, how else can you explain how you ended up sharing days, months, years or decades of your life with this one particular pet and not all the other thousands or hundreds of thousands of their counterparts?
These days, rather than approaching karma from a black or white, good or bad, wrong or right perspective, I simply see karma as interaction.
There are millions and billions of people and pets whose paths will never cross with my own. It is actually kind of amazing to think about.
Even if you sat down right now and counted out every single person and animal you have ever met from the day you were born up until right now, that number would still represent a drop in the ocean of all the beings available for your to meet of any species.
Mind-blowing to consider.
Karmic relationships exist to help us, teach us, inspire us, heal us, guide us and evolve us. And this sounds pretty wonderful, doesn’t it? But here’s the thing about karma that nobody likes. Help, instruction, inspiration, healing, guidance and evolution don’t always feel great while they are happening.
This is because, as one of my coaches likes to say, before the seed can sprout, it has a lot of dirt to push out of the way first!
So experiencing relational karma can feel uncomfortable. Painful. Scary. Frustrating. Rageful, even. The actions we take as we participate in a karmic relationship can be full of mistakes. With the end goal of learning, growth, development, we can’t help but make mistakes. Karmic relationships are literally designed with mistake-making in mind.
And this sucks quite enough when we make those mistakes with another person. It sucks way worse when we make those mistakes with a pet or an animal we are trying to heal, help or rescue in some way.
There is one bright light in all this, however.
The animals in our lives have mastered unconditional love, with its attendant blessings of forgiveness and a near-infinite supply of second chances, at a much deeper level than most humans have. This is why your pet doesn’t hold a grudge when you mess up. Your partner or friend or boss might hold a grudge…even after you recognize your mistake, apologize and do your utmost to make amends.
Your pet has already forgiven you before you even realize you need to ask.
This is a big topic and there is a lot more to say. But for now, a good starting point is to recognize that yes, you and your pet are in a karmic relationship. And this is GOOD NEWS. Karmic relationships may not be designed to be easy – nothing for our growth and evolution typically is – but they are ripe with opportunity.
And when your karmic relationship is with your pet, this means it comes with a generous buffer of unconditional love above and below, in front and behind and from all sides.
Plus, your teacher is very cute. “Cuteness” makes karma go down a whole lot easier.
Ready to explore your karmic relationship with your pet further? I can help! Find out what messages your pet wants to share with you. Learn why your animal chose you to be their person. Discover what you and your pet can work on together to help you truly embody being the person your pet thinks you are.