Everyone in the world would benefit from having a dog. That being said…
Last night, we at the Buechner household celebrated my sister’s birthday. Present at the birthday was cake. So much cake, in fact, that my mom sent me on a journey to the neighbor’s this morning to deliver some of the remains. In past lives, I’d probably insist on offering up my body as a human garbage disposal to eat all the cake so that others wouldn’t have to subject their bodies to such cruelty, but thankfully I’ve risen above that delusional thinking, and also have been finding a great deal of joy in renouncing lower preferences, like that of cake, for higher ones, like that of self-discipline, truth, and health. Also, on day 10 of a 30 day raw food experiment, the last thing I wanted to do was break the streak with a piece of coconut opera cream birthday cake. As delicious as it sounds, ultimately it’s impermanent anyway…so might as well be impermanent someplace other than in my stomach 😉
Meanwhile, at my neighbor’s this morning, the cosmos granted me the pleasure of talking with my neighbor’s housekeeper for quite a while about nothing else other than the magnificent nature of dogs! Dogs – yes, I love them too. Wonderful, humble, citizens of the world. They don’t ask for much, are open to training, and always down to play. Perhaps best of all, they don’t speak English, so none of those dumb verbal fights about politics or dinner.
For the past week, I’ve woken up and look at quote of Lao Tzu’s. It goes,
The Tao’s highest excellence is like that of water. The excellence of water appears in its benefitting all things, and in its occupying, without striving to the contrary, the low ground which all men dislikes. There is nothing in the world more soft or weak than water, and yet for attacking things that are firm and strong, there is nothing that can take precedence of it.
Water flows – effortlessly. Resisting nothing, in harmony with the natural laws of the universe, it just is. In its humble flow, it serves the Highest Good. Does this sound like the way dogs behave?
Dogs are pretty much down to do anything. Granted, they might not have that much of a choice, but nevertheless, it seems like they always prefer play and engagement to indifference and laziness. They also seem to have an incredible sense of energy flow, which is why they are so drawn to children and physical touch.
In some ways, I feel like our abundance of human faculties can overwhelm us to the point where we miss out on sensing the energy of laughter or touch, or even of life itself. If you watch a dog, you’ll notice they are acutely aware of the life forces that flow around them. People, other dogs, squirrels – you name it, dogs enjoy life in all its forms and appreciate other life by giving it attention and awareness.
Some of my most joyous moments in life have come from observing dogs observe life. Watching a dog be present and fully engage the moment can bring us more fully into the moment too.
With these magnificent minds of ours, it is very easy to drown in our own thoughts of the past and future. Dogs, fortunately, don’t face this challenge. Thankfully, they also provide an astounding example of how to practice mindfulness in our day to day lives, so that we can more fully connect with this present, wonderful, moment. Not saying you have to go around sticking your nose up people’s butts, but you can at least notice the sounds of life all around you. Let your ears perk up a bit. And smell your food.
Be like dog!