Dogs and cats can help reduce loneliness, provide a nonjudgmental source of companionship and enrich their owners' lives. According to author Eckhart Tolle, pets can also benefit our spiritual well-being. On "Oprah and Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth," Tolle addresses a viewer who says she has found she is more present since becoming a dog owner.
"When the dog looks at you, the dog is not thinking what kind of a person you are," Tolle says. "The dog is not judging you."
Rather, Tolle says that dogs are in "a state of consciousness prior to the arrival of thought."
"And that state has certain similarities with the state of presence, which is a state of going beyond thinking, where we are going," he says.
Tolle says that, in some ways, animals are more "connected with being" than we are, and spending time with them can be enlightening. "I call them guardians of being," he says. "Because for many people, they fulfill that function. For many people who are so lost in their minds, so much involved in their thought processes, the only moments they have when they are not trapped in that is when they are relating to their animal, their pet."