Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Dog, the Very Advanced Yogini

The other morning, I saw god in my dog’s eyes. My son and I and she were all outside in the backyard, and after a quick game of fetch, she laid down in the cool, shaded grass, sphinx-like.

She wanted nothing, needed nothing. Fed, watered, exercised, and near her family, she simply sat, peaceful, with no agitation.

While my baby busied himself with his sandbox, I sat next to her, and she looked at me, and I looked at her, and I swear I experienced a look of pure awareness.

Now, she’s a pretty intelligent dog, but the look I saw wasn’t her sharpness. It was a look that revealed her source, our source. It was god, in the most ineffable sense of the concept of god.

Now, dogs are generally pretty good at being in the moment, but they, too, have a kind of consciousness and bodily needs and instincts and even desires. In this moment, she was not subject to those, and thus I got a glimpse of the truth that religions and yoga and spiritual journeys are always pointing toward.

It’s hard to see this in another human’s eyes, I think, because we’re all so caught up in the illusions that our minds create for us to want or fear or hold onto. Our eyes, even if the outer, defensive shield is dropped, still retain yet another curtain that prevents most people from seeing more deeply, prevents us from being transparent to the transcendent. So that’s why it was a real privilege—this truly sacred moment—to see into my beautiful dog’s eyes and receive her gift of revealed awareness.

I’m not sure that she hasn’t given me this gift before, but if she has, then I know I must not have been able to see it, blinded by my own shortcomings and fears, needs and wants. I am hopeful that my ability to witness this, to actually notice it, means that I am shedding some of those obstructions to truth and awareness.

I don’t believe animals are here on earth to serve us, per se, but I do believe that incidental to our symbiotic relationship, they can offer us a whole hell of a lot that we’re probably usually too busy to accept.

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