Zen Dog: Learning from our Four-Legged Friends

We are most alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures (pencil drawing)

Pencil drawing by Diane Mottl (beingtrulypresent.com)

Is it the animal lover in me or the soul-searching-inner-peace loving me that sees so much in this pencil drawing?

There is a part of me that wishes I could transport myself into his furry body and see the world through his eyes. Is his doggy-brain in a peaceful state of bliss?

When I think of my own search for this peaceful state of mind, I know I can be in it one moment, then 300 miles away from it the next. How easy it is for the human mind to get pulled in so many different directions; to get caught up in the distractions of our inner and outer world.

I am one of those people who has a mind that goes and goes and goes. I am also one of those people who practices slowing it down and quieting it. Practice, practice and more practice, has led to a slight re-vamp of my brain. The constant whirling of thirty years ago, has been replaced with more moments of blissful peace in this almost-48-year-old brain. More practice, more moments. But on days when the path to this more peaceful way of being is filled with obstacles, I can not help but look at the purring kitten on my lap (or the image of Zen Dog on my screen as I type) and feel a twinge of envy at our four-legged friends.

Science tells us we are more evolved than our animal friends. But with this comes a huge responsibility. We can use our minds to bring out the best in ourselves and others, or the worst in ourselves and others. We can get so caught up in our brains, that we lose touch with our souls. We can live in our heads, not in our hearts. We can let our egos lead us further and further away from ourselves.

Yes, we humans have been given an incredible gift. But I, for one, think there is a lesson or two we can learn from our furry, four-legged friends. Whether Zen Dog is truly at peace gazing off into the distance or the purring kitten on my lap is as blissful as she appears, is not the point (so please do not burst my bubble by sending me evidence of the contrary).

When I see their totally-in-the-moment happiness, I chose to see what I can create in my own life. More quiet. More peace. More awareness of the gift in each and every moment. More gratitude. More being in my soul. More trust in my place in this world.

More purring bliss.

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” — Denis Waitley

“Surrender to what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be.” — Sonia Ricotti

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” — Unknown

“Remembering to be conscious is the beginning of inner peace and freedom.” — Gabriella Kortsch

“Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.”  – Mahatma Gandhi

“Let the water settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your being.” — Rumi

4 Responses to “Zen Dog: Learning from our Four-Legged Friends”

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  1. says:

    Another great post, accompanied by your beautiful artwork. I love loving my dogs and they truly help keep me grounded. Keep doing what you’re doing, Diane!

  2. Cathy says:

    Hi Diane–I absolutely love the article, and pencil sketch is incredible for so many reasons. Reading your blog, and your quote “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” — Denis Waitley – truly captures how I am feeling after reading your article. The timing was perfect, as I needed this positive energy lift!
    Thank you my good friend for your many gifts and generous sharing,

  3. says:

    Dogs definitely do live in the moment. Nice blog Diane.

  4. says:

    A brain at peace: this is such a hard thing for me to obtain. I feel like I have birds flapping around in my head at all times, each on a different flight than the others. When I practice the lessons I learned in DBT to achieve mindfulness, it helps. It’s still not as quiet and focused as I would like for it to be, but at least I can center myself for a short while, and that makes a huge difference. I have often (often!) envied animals because they seem to really know what life is all about. I’m sure they have their own little worries and heartaches, but they do what must be done, and sometimes the most important things are a full belly and a nap. I think we could all learn a lot from our pets :)

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