Unitarian minister Gary Kowalski has written: “Finding peace within and bringing peace to the world may start with the capacity to look into another’s eyes and recognize there a kindred soul, whether the eyes belong to a German, a Dutchman, a friend, a chimpanzee, or a wolf.” If you find it natural and pleasurable to look into the eyes of animals, then this is just the book for you.

Judy Carman is founder of the Circle of Compassion Initiative, co-founder of Animal Outreach of Kansas, and co-coordinator of the Universal Prayer Circle for the Animals. This handy little volume is overflowing with insights, prayers, affirmations, and concrete steps individuals can take to reverence and protect the lives of all living creatures.

From the opening dedication page where Carman writes “Let us take a moment each day to breathe deeply, close our eyes, visualize and say: Compassion Encircles the Earth for all Beings Everywhere” to the closing chapter which includes a list of animal advocacy organizations to be prayed for, this resource is a treasure trove of material for animal activists. Anatole France once stated: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Carman is convinced that this connection with living creatures adds to the growing fund of love and compassion in the world. To prove her point, she finds advocates of this process in all religious traditions. Here is one example:

”The Indian saint Ramana Maharshi showed great reverence for the animals who were drawn to his ashram. One was a cow named Lakshmi who would rest her head on Ramana's feet while he sat with his devotees. When Lakshmi was dying, Ramana sat with her and laid his hands on her heart and head. He told his devotees that her heart was filled with love for God and that she had attained enlightenment before she left this realm.”

But the real hub of Peace to All Beings is Carman’s wonderful prayers for all the animal nations, for the persecutors of animals, Albert Schweitzer’s prayer for animals who are suffering, and prayers for specific situations — such as when passing a factory chicken farm, if you are at an amusement park and see captive dolphins, or when passing places where fur, leather, perfume or other products are sold or made from the bodies of our animal friends. We liked this short blessing for the animals: “May all my sacred brothers and sisters, walk, fly, swim and move in love, peace and freedom.”

Try a Spiritual Practice on Compassion

Try a Spiritual Practice on Reverence