Healing Animals

932 Relax and Succeed - When I look into the eyes of an animalWe all want to feel better. We all seek solutions to problems or to better ourselves in some way. We want to see life advance and grow and expand and we want to deal with people and situations that will permit or even encourage that growth. We see the challenges associated with money, status and power but we recognize almost none regarding peace.

Peace of Mind is an actual state. You have no resistance, no struggle, no distance, no desire. You are completely fine with the world as it is. You accept it and there isn’t even any classification of things let alone full narratives about them. You are clear and present in the moment–the most peaceful and beautiful place to be.

When we’re locked in ego we’ll tend to try to use ego to get back to peace, which you can’t really do. You can’t try your way into peace you have to relax your way in. It’s an act of letting go. A good example is a young lady who has been walking her dog in front of my house for several years now. She used to be very happy but now she has many problems.

932 Relax and Succeed - Learn a lesson from your dogBack when she’d first got her dog the dog was the center of her life. It got played with in the park, he was always looked at and talked to. Dogs are great because they’re a pack animal that is brilliant at forgiving and it’s like they’re just always waiting for something great to happen. She used to love watching him spot a squirrel or another dog he was excited to see. Now she’s mostly upset.

She’s a teenager now so her parents got her a phone. Presumably this is about connectivity with her family and friends and that’s all understandable and yet, being a tool, she’s learned to think of her tool as her answer instead of herself. So before she had the phone she got half an hour off each evening for a nice peaceful dog walk. Now the dog walks ignored alongside her while she mostly argues with people via her phone via earbuds that block the world out.

Sometimes she walks by talking to someone about some offense she’s experienced, sometimes she’s texting with a worried or angry look on her face. She used to smile and say hello to many neighbours previously, but these little doses of happiness have been forgone in favour of the phone. Those dog walks used to create great happiness within her but now her what’s next? brain is waiting for happiness to be delivered to her via the external world.

932 Relax and Succeed - The vital function that pets fulfillMeanwhile the dog is still there, ignored but very present. He notices the neighbours every time he passes. She can walk past some amazing things and not even notice she’s done it. So the purpose of her wanting the dog was wanting companionship and the dog did that really well. The phone was also a request for increased companionship in a way, but if you were to look at the results the way a scientist would, it seems crazy that the phone would go on the walks because it almost always leads to frustration or worry or sadness whereas the dog never did.

Now she’s locked into an external world where she’s fighting an external battle for status or money or power or love. These are all gains of the ego. Her spirit could easily be happy with just the dog. There’s a lot of evidence that the dog would do the same thing as before if she only paid it some attention. He still has the same demeanour, he still watches her hoping she’ll interact. He still believes in her. It’s her that doesn’t believe in her.

If you have a pet then consider spending more time with it as a spiritual exercise. Watch how the animal reacts to the world relative to you. Watch how you feel when you’re with it. Just like any good guru a dog will always be willing to join you in the moment you are in if you are willing to abandon your thoughts about other places and other times.

Look into your fellow creature’s face. See your old friend there. They’re waiting for you to come to them so they can heal with you. Join them.

pees. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Galloping Thoughts

I have several friends who own and/or passionately love horses. I’ve asked one friend in particular some fairly deep philosophical questions about the horse-rider relationship and because she’s an intelligent, introspective person she’s helped me understand a lot. Most of my readers are women, and most horses are owned by women, and so it occurred to me that using a horse in a metaphor might be both welcome and helpful. And to be honest it worked surprisingly well.

604 Relax and Succeed - The riders hands are not to controlOkay, so you’re the rider. This represents The Observer—or your spirit in other terms. This is the always-healthy part of you that goes unnoticed when we’re living in ego. The horse represents your thoughts. And the terrain represents the world around you. And so your riding skills represent your ability to control the horse of your thoughts so that it will take you where you want to be, all while taking into account the terrain that is presented.

The critical thing to remember in all of this is that the horse still has volition. Yes a violent rider can worry a horse into where he wants it to go, and a good rider can cooperate with the horse so that there is no discernible division between horse and rider. But good rider or bad, the horse still maintains the freedom to bolt and do damage. So will the terrain be fatiguing and will you become tired as a rider? And will your horse use your low consciousness to exert its power? Because if it does, it will ride and ride and ride toward all sorts of hell until the rider actively intervenes with enough intention to actually quiet the horse so that its direction can be changed.

This is the advantage of the rough ride of emotions. When you and the horse are working together to better both of your situations, your movement through the world is quick and sure-footed and smooth and enjoyable. But at times when the terrain has worn you out, when you have walked up too many hills, and your fatigue turns to inattention, before you know it the horse has bolted and it’s racing off toward something dangerous. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a rider. Otherwise the universe wouldn’t need the rough feelings to help guide you. No, you need some unpleasant parts to even be able to recognize the pleasant parts. So unpleasant feelings are the result of the horse being allowed to run willy-nilly. Stay mindful.

604 Relax and Succeed - Changing my thoughtsEat and sleep well and get even moderate exercise. That’s like looking after your horse. And then develop your skills and accept that for every hill you go down you will have to go up. And if your thoughts are moving in a painful direction you must use your skills to change the horse’s focus. So when you’re in those phases don’t be too hard on yourself when your patience runs thin. But always use it as a reminder that you can develop the appropriate sensibilities to be able to get your horse back on course before it ever wanders too far off your path

Remember, the terrain is the terrain. You can’t change that. But you can control the horse to a large enough degree that even uphill slopes can feel pretty rewarding. That’s all very happy people do. They just don’t let their thoughts settle in negativity. They raise their gaze and search for positivity.

So here’s the deal: you don’t need to change your life. Start taking more active control over your thinking, stop being angry about, or complaining or whining or crying about the horse your childhood mounted you on. Every single horse brings its challenges. So forget about wishing you were on another horse and instead take control over your own riding. Because if you can get reasonably good control over your thinking—which everyone can if they try—then it doesn’t matter what horse you were born onto because you have essentially guaranteed yourself a fantastic ride through life.

Your thinking will often be helpful when taking you where you want to go. But it should not be allowed to run amok. Use it like rider jumping fences. But don’t just let your thoughts wander unrestrained. No one can be happy that way.

Focus your thinking on the things you appreciate and it is impossible not to enjoy your day. Make that choice. Go quiet inside. Connect. Be.

And have yourself and awesome day.

peace. s