A Powerful Spiritual Lesson You Can Learn From Your Dog

We have often heard the term “it’s a dog’s life.” But what does that mean? You might limit your exploration of your dog’s life to a series of days, filled with seemingly mundane events. Your dog wakes up. Your dog goes outside to do their business. Hunger brings the dog to their bowl. When they are tired, your dog lays down and sleeps. They sleep a lot actually.

But what you are truly witnessing is an amazingly Zen example of living life in the moment. The word “Zen” is in fact the Japanese attempt to say the Chinese word “Chan.” The Chinese word “Chan” translates to “Dhyana,” which is a Sanskrit word for “meditation.” And before you ask – no, your dog is not meditating. But your dog is showing you how to live very much in the moment.

And have you noticed how happy your dog is? Perhaps there is something to following your dog’s example. Perhaps there is something to living your life, as the French might say, al la mode, in the moment. Okay, maybe the French don’t say that. But why can’t you?

Much of the emotional discomfort in our lives is born of overthinking every detail of our day, our week, our life. We are paralyzed in the analysis of how to move forward. Why? Because we won’t allow ourselves to let go of our attachment to the past. And our shaky remembrances of the past, falsely informs our present and therefore future behaviour. You see, we don’t actually remember events as they truly happened, but as a version of the events we create in our mind, based on our intellectual and emotional quotient supplies.

In other words, your memory of a past event is not so much a snapshot of what happened, as it is a painting of what happened. And as time passes, you add colour and texture to the painting. In the end, the painting often bears little or no resemblance at all to the past. It is an abstract representation of the past. But you hold onto that painting with a steadfast certainty that it is, in fact, the truest picture of your experience. And upon this wisdom, you build your life. But the wisdom is missing important details, and coloured with details that are false. It’s not your fault. So let go guilt right now.

And maybe you do think that you are smarter than your dog. But you must admit that your dog seems pretty happy. So, taking a page from your dog’s plan for a happy life, try to let the past remain in the past. When you want to dredge up all those old memories of the past that cause you so much doubt, remind yourself that memories were meant to fade. Absolutely, use sound wisdom that you and your dog have gained over the years. For example, never try to surprise a skunk in the woods and imagine it will end well for either of you. It doesn’t.

So for happiness, travel light with wisdom, carrying only what you need. And let the memories fade. And then maybe you will be as happy as your dog.

Note To Selfie: Drop The Mask

What if we all put down our masks? What if we agreed, that there would be no more disguises? What if we allowed each other to be our authentic self? Imagine the effect on Instagram. It boggles the mind.

Too many people believe the content uploaded on social media is actually showing us truth. Far from it. The material chosen to be uploaded to Facebook, or liked on Instagram, bears little resemblance to true life. Each photo has been carefully chosen after taking a mind-numbing series of retakes.

Each photo must be meticulously studied to ensure the subject looks nothing like the real thing. After all, the real thing isn’t going to garner followers. No one uploads pictures of themselves returning bottles to the beer store in their slippers, or cleaning out the kitty litter. Followers equate to love. More follower = more love.

We are terrified that people will see our true self and our mundane lives won’t be nearly glamorous enough. So we take 12 pictures before deciding one is good enough.

Note to selfie: Make sure you extend your arms and snap the picture from above. You must be looking up. You will look younger. Social media doesn’t like wrinkles … bad skin … or skinny lips.

“Before I started being body positive on Instagram I would’ve posted the photo on the left (sucking in my tummy as much as possible) and said something along the lines of ‘gained a bit of fat this week’ when in reality, what I look relaxed currently is like the photo on the right.”

The harm that has been done to our psyche is profound. Apparently, the psyche is quite gullible. It does believe the stories shown on social media are true. So our psyche starts putting on some pretty outlandish masks to keep up with the Jones’ psyche. It is a constant challenge to keep up with the Joneses. The Joneses can’t even keep up with Joneses. No one can. It’s a sucker’s game.

What is the result of wearing a mask? – depression, anxiety, frustration, shame. The “Mask-Wearer” knows it’s not true. And they are terrified of being found out. Imagine the fear of being outed as a fraud. And more unsettling is this; if someone falls for that mask you’ve been wearing, don’t believe they’ve fallen for you. They are enamoured with the mask: the image. And the image isn’t real.

Let’s bring a Revolution of Real. Put down the mask. And promise yourself that you will never be anything other than your most authentic self. Masks wear very thin, very fast. Authentic beauty lasts forever.

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