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Five Spiritual Lessons I Learned From My Dog

Updated on May 6, 2015
Buddha Dog AKA Rocky
Buddha Dog AKA Rocky | Source

Buddha Dog

Other people may be searching for gurus, arguing the existence or nonexistence of God, grinding political axes, and doing yoga.

That's fine. I admire their energy and devotion.

As for me, though, most days I am here hanging out with my dog, writing, and working on our house and the acre that came with it. It's a quiet life, and I love it.

You might think that leaves me spiritually deprived, but not so!

My dog is a total Buddha, right down to the round belly (a quality I now share with him).

Over the course of my dog's nine years he has taught me many deep spiritual truths, some so deep I kind of forget what they are.

(Or is it where they are? Oh well, whatever.)

What follows are five that I do remember.

Feel free to pass them on or use or discard any as you see fit.

1) How To Tell Time Without a Clock

You know how some horses can count and some apes can communicate in sign language? Well my dog can tell time. Seriously.

My dog always knows exactly what time it is without ever looking at one single watch or clock.

For instance, you know what time it is now?

Now! It's NOW.

It's aways NOW.

If going for a walk later this afternoon sounds good, NOW is way better. If having a delicious snack after the yard is mowed sounds wonderful, having it NOW is the most brilliant idea ever! (You need energy to mow the lawn, right?)

Many people spend years in meditation to learn that it is always now.

I learned it in about a week, just because this dog came to live with us.

2) A Walk Outdoors Is As Good As Meditation

My dog is always up for a walk outdoors and he won't let me forget it. From the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning my dog is right there, urging a walk outdoors as the perfect meditative exercise.

And you know, he's right. It's hard to be crabby outdoors, and it's double hard to think deep thoughts while walking outdoors with a dog. You have to keep your wits about you or you fall down hills, step in poo, trip over clumps of weeds, and fall into other unpleasant situations. Basically, you have to stop thinking and just be outdoors with your dog. That works. But it takes awhile to learn.

Once you get into that dog zone, you notice all kinds of wonderful things, like the fact that nothing stays the same from week to week, or even, sometimes, from day to day. Also, there are other creatures out there who are not you. And bad weather is kind of amazing when you are out in it. I'm not making this up, it's totally true.

Take a walk with a dog and you will see it yourself, I promise.

3) Confidence Comes From Within

When my dog first came to live with us, I was really worried about it. I've never had a dog, and he's huge--about 120 pounds on a non ice-cream day--and of a breed that has more strength pound for pound than an elephant. So the prospect of having to walk and care for this dog all day really freaked me out, and the dog could see that.

For the first month or so, walking this dog was like compiling a catalogue of all the different ways a human being can take a prat fall or dislocate a shoulder, but over time, my dog got the idea that he was expected to 1) not get me injured, and 2) stay close and not yank on the leash.

But that still wasn't enough.

I am not the world's most assertive person. In fact, I'm so introverted that I have, on occasion, accidentally swallowed my own head and had to ask for help removing it from whatever body cavity in which it has gotten stuck (again).

But when you are with a dog, you have to reach down deep and pull out some confidence. You have to FIND that damn confidence, because if you don't, your giant dog who loves you more than deer poop and beefsteak will threaten to tear apart anything he thinks you are scared of.

Yikes.

Once I realized this and saw that I had to 'step it up' confidence-wise, it not only changed me, it changed my dog.

Today, he wouldn't hurt a fly, and we can walk past any German Shepherd or English Bull Terrier and just watch the other dog freak out and slaver at the end of a leash without even flinching ourselves. Sometimes my dog will just look up at me like, "Wow, what's his problem?" and I'll just say, "Don't worry about it." And we don't.

4) There's No Such Thing As Too Much Love

You can be the Douche Bag of the Century and if you get a dog, that dog will love you as if you are really Saint Francis in disguise, and the thing is, maybe you are. Maybe you don't even know it yet. But the dog will draw it out of you.

Dogs don't hold grudges. They don't care how you look or smell. They would rather be with you than in a whole roomful of celebrities. After hanging out with someone who adores you that much, you start to see other people differently. Maybe the people you were convinced were just born assholes really have hidden positive traits that any dog can easily see. It's at least remotely possible.

If we could love each other even half as much as our dogs love us, we would have no social problems, ever. I know that it seems like an impossible order, but if a dog can do it, well… you know.

What an AMAZING idea! That's my FAVORITE!
What an AMAZING idea! That's my FAVORITE! | Source

5) Life Is Amazing, Enjoy Every Minute

Here is my dog's response to almost any idea I propose to him:

"What an AMAZING IDEA! That's MY FAVORITE!"

If I say to him, "Hey buddy, how's about we go out back and break up some sticks for two hours and get covered in dirt and ticks and scraps of dead leaves?" his response is:

"What an AMAZING IDEA! That's MY FAVORITE!"

If I say, "He what do you say we pile into the car and take a half hour drive down to the vet's office where they'll give you a shot and examine all your body openings?" his response is:

"What an AMAZING IDEA! That's MY FAVORITE!"

If I say, "Hey kiddo, there's another squashed opossum out front on the side of the road, we'd better get out there and scrape it off and bury it," his response is:

"What an AMAZING IDEA! That's MY FAVORITE!"

In short, my dog is up for anything, so long as it's with me, and if everything we set out to do doesn't work out all that wonderfully, it's no big deal and all is forgotten once we get back home and have a snack.

Dogs don't obsess about failure or worry about possible unpleasantness ahead, they take life as it comes and enjoy it as much as they possibly can.

The more time you spend with a dog, the more you will too.

And if THAT isn't a spiritual lesson, I don't know what is.

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    • profile image

      Mariangel 

      3 years ago

      hey there! checked out your wetisbe and am very interested in your assistance. We have a year old lab X greyhound (so we found out afterwards!) and all in all he is an amazing dog, we got him at 8 weeks and he has been around our daughter who had just turned 3 and is amazing with her she lays on him..pushes him is kind of in an aggressive stage right now and we try really hard to stress to her NOT to be like that lol but anyway he has never growled, snapped, bit or snarled at her..or anyone for that matter.. he is a very loving and affectionate, licky/kissy dog.however, we have a baby on the way, and my husband was just called into the military and will be going away for quite a while. Bentley(dog) seems to listen to my husband more than me they are BFFS. And Bentley has and always has had an issue with jumping up, and pawing at people lol not aggressively but its still super frustrating, and we are concerned with the baby on the way and such and just want to get him under control while hes still young.Let me know what you think and We'd love to meet!

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thanks WiccanSage!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      5 years ago

      You have a wise pooch.

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi Penny! That's great! I'm so glad you told me about that and your monthly article. All the best!

    • profile image

      Penny 

      6 years ago

      I've been caring for my son's dog for the summer, a 7-year old beagle ... she'll be retuning home soon. Indeed I've learned many lessons from our time spent together these past weeks ... dogs are great teachers. I've used your wonderful message as a springboard for a monthly article I write for my church newsletter. Very spiritual thoughts - thanks for the blessings.

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi Dr. Mark! Glad you enjoyed the hub. On my way over to check your hub out. Thanks for stopping by!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      6 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I actually wrote a hub on walking meditation with my dog on the beach. I don´t know who gains more benefit from it, me or my dog. They give us great lessons that we need to follow!

      Enjoyed the article.

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thank you so much Mr. Happy! I'm a lucky person. And I'm so glad you came by and liked my dog's ideas! All the best to you. :)

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      The "now" lesson is great! I learned that from my grandmother who used to say to not let for tomorrow what You can do today. I had to paraphrase and translate that from Romanian so if it sounds odd, it is all my fault (lol).

      I love the "dog zone" too ... I can get into that perspective in seconds, especially if I got a furry buddy around. : )

      "For the first month or so, walking this dog was like compiling a catalogue of all the different ways a human being can take a prat fall or dislocate a shoulder" - This comment made me smile. I saw someone a couple of days ago being pulled around by his dog and I asked the guy who was walking who ... he just laughed lol ...

      A beautiful write Amigo! Many thanks for posting this. A great Spirit You are. May Wakan Tanka walk with You!

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi whowas! So glad you enjoyed it. :)

      Actually it's the dog who is the genius. I just try to keep up.

    • profile image

      whowas 

      6 years ago

      That was fun and enlightening, too. Great writing and some real laughs along with the insights.

      "Wow that's an amazing idea, that's my favorite!"

      You're a genius. Best hub I've read all day. Thank you.

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thanks Harvest Moon! I appreciate the comment. Good to see you! :)

    • Harvest Moon profile image

      Harvest Moon 

      6 years ago from Earth

      Absolutely true - my dog is the same way, albeit in a lot smaller package (he makes up for size by having a heart as big as the sun). I think animals are wonderful, and perhaps the most solid spiritual teachers we can have in the world of the living. Thanks for a great hub!

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thank you!

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      Oh no-I'm sorry to hear that. I will pray that he can stay around longer for you. Blessings :-)

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thank you Minnetonka Twin! He will be gone soon, I fear. I appreciate you validating my experience. God bless. :)

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      Bravo to you on stating such a true fact about dogs. I have two black labs and they found pieces of my heart that I never knew existed. I found your sense of humor really clever and it really got your point across about the great qualities in a dog companion. Your Rocky/Buddha sure is a handsome devil.

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thank you Felina! I appreciate the comment. :)

    • Felina Margetty profile image

      Felina Margetty 

      6 years ago from New York, New York

      I love the sentiment,I love the wisdom. Life is full of ideals waiting to happen, hope, faith, charity and compassion are my watchwords. Not really very hard when you think about it.Cheers F.

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thanks bmcoll3278! I agree, they can. :)

    • bmcoll3278 profile image

      bmcoll3278 

      6 years ago from Longmont, Colorado

      Every word rings true . Great hub voted up. Dogs can also sense the presence of God in my humble opinion.

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thank you JamaGenee!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      CR, Rocky's insights are PRICELESS! I especially like his concept of time: NOW. That's where we should all live - in NOW.

      Voted up, funny, awesome and beautiful! ;D

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thank you Kierawieck! I'm so happy you came by. And those allergies! That has to be awful. My son has cat allergies (he's grown and no longer lives here) and he can't be in the house for more than half an hour without the itching and watery eyes. All the best to you and your sweet Eskie.

    • profile image

      klarawieck 

      6 years ago

      CR, this hub has brought tears to my eyes. I have always had dogs and I currently have an American Eskie that is 11 yrs old and still thinks she's 2. I love her to death even though her fur makes me so sick that I have to endure allergy shots on a weekly basis. But you're right about everything. Dogs are great teachers and friends.

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thank you Delores!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Though I don't have a dog, I can appreciate this hub on those marvelous creatures. What amazing companions!

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      lol! Thanks CWB. I really appreciate you stopping by. Rocky is the only dog I've ever had. He's 9 now and may not be around much longer. It's gonna be weird without him.

    • Civil War Bob profile image

      Civil War Bob 

      6 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

      Voted up, beautiful, interesting, CR...my beagle was great, too...unless I broke out a shotgun to go hunting, then she was in the land of Elsewhere!

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thanks Alastar! I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Yeah, Rocky is quite the beast!

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Buddah Dog aka Rocky is quite a companion there CR, enjoyable write. You said it with if we could love each other half as much as our dogs it'd be a better world. Lesson noted and agreed on!

    • CR Rookwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Hutson 

      6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thanks mperrottet!

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 

      6 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      Wonderful and so true! Up, beautiful and awesome.

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