Our Best Friends As Spiritual Teachers
Edited by Tami Simon
Why are dogs in your life? What lessons do they teach you and how do they make your life more meaningful, alive, joyful and well, full of surprises?
In the Dharma of Dogs, many wanderers, seekers, teachers and authors attempt to answer those questions and more with their accounts of the dog companions and teachers in their lives. Some of the story titles tell all like award-winning author Alice Walker’s “I Had No Idea Charlie Was Coming,” or Julie Barton’s “How Losing My Dog Helped Me Believe There’s An Afterlife…”
“My Little Buddha” by Andrew Holocek and “Are You Willing to Be a Fool for Love?” by Susan Martin tell us about rising to the struggles and challenges of being human in the presence of creatures that can both delight and perplex us with the ways they provide love when we’re not able to fully love ourselves.
All the stories, whether tracking in zany detail or broader outlines the zig zag lives of their authors journey with their canine companions, come with some kind of revelation, some ah ha, sometimes not until after the passing of their beloveds. Reverend angel Kyodo williams takes us there when she says, “Their deaths were their wisdom gift to me. My dogs, even after they died, really helped me understand two things—that I could love, and that love is beyond human beings. In other words, it’s that very deep sense of love that we carry and that lives within us.”
Reading this book was like taking dozens of walks in the park or ambles in the wild, flashing back to my own and dogs I’ll never know but whose character and qualities I could recognize and relish. And it even gave me a new practice for being more fully present in my own life….dogitation. I’ll end this review with the last lines of a guided practice Lama Surya Das came to with his dog Chandi.
Relax, let the natural rhythms of dogitation overtake you and unite you both in the space that only all animal lovers know. Enter into the great timeless circle of cosmic breathing with your silent accomplice and pet-partner in co-meditation.