If you’re like me, you know you should meditate. It would reduce anxiety and improve sleep, focus, and memory. The thing is, whenever dog people sit on the floor and assume the lotus position, one dog licks your face, the other drops a ball in your lap, and the other stands by the back door, farting ominously.
The other day, I was lying on the couch recovering from insomnia, watching Youtube parrots ride Roombas. I felt guilty because I should be cooking my own organic dog food, ending puppy mills, and cooling planet Earth. Then I remembered, at least I use cloth grocery bags. I also remembered I could perhaps reduce anxiety and insomnia by watching meditation videos. I wasn’t ten seconds into this one video when I realized, I meditate all the time! My dogs actually force it on me.
If you live with dogs, here are three meditations you’re probably already doing:
1. Pooping in Space and Time
When it’s time for your dog to get down to business, take him for a walk. When he sniffs, circles, and crouches as if it’s going to happen—and then sniffs and circles again, relax. Notice your frustration. Let it go.
Dwell upon the mystery—is your dog looking for exactly the right spot? Or is he, like us, not completely in control of the timing? Is he, instead, waiting for his magic moment? Perhaps the Goddess of Thunder is fickle with dogs, too. Remind yourself that almost-pooping dogs have been faking out their impatient human companions for fourteen thousand years. Meditate upon the Zen koan: “The soaring eagle may not seek to land on the right branch, but to land at the right time.” Your control is limited. So is your dog’s. At least you don’t have to wait for your dog to put you on a leash and lead you to the toilet.
Breathe in. Your dog has pooped before and will again. Breath out. The bowel movement will happen, if not on this walk, then on your carpet. At this moment, all over the world, other dogs are pooping. Creatures everywhere are pooping. One day, you too, will poop.
2. Retrieving Your Dog’s Toys
When your dog goes wild with frustration because he can’t reach a ball that’s rolled under the couch, notice your annoyance and let it pass like a summer storm. Your dog does not have opposable thumbs at the end of long arms and never will, and it would probably freak you out if he did. Willing your dog to reach what he cannot won’t alter his body or your furniture one bit. Take a deep belly breath, and release. (Note: Practice this deep breathing before you stick your face under the dusty couch.)
Ponder the many things your body can do that your dog’s can’t, such as drive to pet stores to buy toys and rawhide that pile up collecting dust and dog hair under the bed and couch. Hold in your mind the notion that your dog regards you as a god, then let it go for the bullshit it is. Your dog has no concept of deities. Your dog is not filled with wonder at your abilities whatsoever. Your dog simply accepts the mystery of you the way you accept his fascination with spots on the ground that appear no different to your eyes than any other spot. He gets mesmerized by the spot, you by your cell phone. You’re a god to no one. Get over yourself.
If you can reach the ball, share a celebratory moment with your dog.
If you can’t reach the ball, contemplate the way your body is made and be mindful of its abilities. Crouch and peer underneath the couch. Hold in the bowl of your heart gratitude that you are as flexible as you are, even if you aren’t. Perhaps it’s easier for you to lie on the couch and slide forward until your head is on the floor and you’re peering upside down. Do that. Be grateful you can read and remember this suggestion. If you can.
If you need a flashlight and a broomstick, go get those tools, counting the many blessings associated with this extra chore. For example, brooms are handy for so much more than sweeping. In fact, you could’ve used yours to sweep under the couch any time. You could do it now, but you don’t have to, do you? No one looks under there. Blessings abound.
If you can’t get off the floor or raise your head, be grateful for health insurance. Or for the open border to Canada. Or maybe just find something to be grateful for while you’re stuck on the floor or hanging upside down and blind. For example, somewhere in your house, maybe there are flashlights. Maybe batteries too. Maybe someday you’ll train your dog to call 9-1-1. While you wait for help, promise yourself you will erect barriers under your furniture like they do in hotels so things don’t get lost, or you’ll get bigger toys or lower furniture. You will find the ball. Someone will find you.
3. Barking at the Window.
When your dog is barking at the window and you are shouting at her to be quiet, rather than clash at the differences between you and your dog, consider instead the differences between the mantras “ah” and “om.” The sound “ah,” as in “bark” and “arf,” is the sound of creation, healing, and joy. That is why this holy syllable is in the name of God in all cultures throughout all time: Allah, Krishna, Jehovah, Rihanna, Lady Gaga.
The sound “om,” as in “woof,” is the sound of everything in the universe. It signifies all meaning contained in every word. That is why this holy syllable is in One, Chromosome, Kingdom Come, Cosmos, and Funeral Home.
Instead of yelling at your dog, join your dog in the great primordial singalong. Become one with your wolf pack in the protection of your property. Commune with all beings aligned against UPS and all men who pair caps with cargo shorts.
When you and your dog chant these mantras, the cells in your body vibrate to this same frequency, the wavelength of All. Tune in. Send all tension and self-awareness into sound waves in the air. Become the wind blowing over the sands of time.
Reflect upon the fact that all humans throughout all time have made and always will make music, and dogs are One with us in the sound of the cosmos. Music is the one true universal language. As you bark and woof, notice everything you can about the music you and your dog are making. When you see the UPS man lift his mobile phone to record you barking with your dog in the window, celebrate the way social media unites humanity all around planet earth as never before in all of time.
For more humor from Lisa, try The Best of WordPress’s “A Girl Scout Cookie Addict Speaks Out,” “The No Poo Chronicles: My Fight Against Shampoo Absolutism,” or “5 Ways to Tell Your Husband You’re Fostering Puppies.”
Cat lovers might want to try “Cat-Assisted Meditation.”