Friday, October 14, 2016

The Dog Teaches Me

Bangkok, October 9

It’s different to come into relationship with an energy than to come into relationship with a thought.

I think — I use my thoughts — to believe that I understand the difference between these two things, but that isn’t quite true. In a certain way, if I want to come into relationship with an inner energy, I have to completely let go of the thought. Not in a stupid way, that is, unintentionally and without mindfulness, but rather intentionally: with a going-towards the energy and an experience of it that doesn’t have thought in it.

There can, to be sure, be a balance between thought and inward energy; and I experience that now as I try to express the differences between the two and their co-relationship within me. If I could study the balance here more carefully, I might learn something important about the nature of thinking and the nature of sensation, which are different but can be cooperative with one another.

As it stands, unless sensation is voluntarily active, that is, it provides its own support from its own corner of being, I am always trying to invoke it and come at it from thought. 

This prevents it from having the right to be alive in its own way. 

It’s as though I am commanding a dog, instead of coming into relationship with the dog, who has its own life and its own being and is in fact much more generous than I am. Not only more generous, but more loving as well. 

If I always want to be the master, there may be a rationale to it — and of course it’s true the dog has, in a certain sense, the need for a master — but the dog is also a whole being unto itself and ought to be allowed to be a dog, because I am not just the teacher of the dog. 

If I'm wise enough, the dog also teaches me.


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

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