The more I think about it, the more I realize how well meditation, mindfulness, and dog training go together.
|Lamar relaxing and enjoying a paw massage|
Our dogs are highly sensitive and tuned in to our mental states. Their noses are so sensitive that they can pick up pheromonal changes the moment we break into a nervous sweat. Having co-evolved with us for hundreds of years, they are highly adapted to pick up on nuances of human emotion. Staying relaxed when we work with our dogs helps them stay relaxed as well, as we project our relaxation down the leash and into them. Here is a meditation to practice at the start of training sessions with your dog.
Meditation: You have already arrived
We live in a very goal-oriented world, and it seems we spend a lot of mental energy thinking about how our lives could be better and the goals we hope to realize someday. We may think about what we’ll do once we’re more wealthy, or how our lives would be if we were more beautiful, had a nicer house, or our dogs were better behaved.
It is important to realize that though we can do many things to improve our lives, we also have everything we need for complete happiness right here, in this very moment.
Close your eyes, and take a deep breath. As you breathe in, imagine you are breathing in white light that floods your lungs, then your chest, then your entire body.
Now think about all the things you have ever wanted: more material wealth, a better job, more friends, a dog who behaves well and responds to your requests. You may have felt that these things were beyond your reach, but remember that with mindfulness, anything is possible.
Now imagine that You Have Already Arrived. All the physical beauty you have ever wanted, is yours. All the material wealth you ever wished for is already in your grasp. Your house is beautiful and sustains you, your friends are generous and abundant. Your dog is tuned in to your wants, and eager to do as you wish. You have already arrived.
To concretize this feeling, imagine a beautiful lotus flower blooming in your chest. The flower is nourished by the white light you’re breathing in, and with each breath the full, waxy, fragrant petals extend into your shoulders, your throat, your belly. This flower represents your completion, your attainment. Enjoy this feeling of abundance, and come back to it frequently.
Practice this meditation with your dog beside you and think about what a wonderful being she is. Do you know anyone else so sensitive, intelligent, and affectionate? Show her your appreciation, and take some time to enjoy the appreciation she shows you.