A year ago, after hearing about all of the benefits, and with a bit of skepticism, I started meditating. Like every other pursuit in my life. I was obsessed with learning the different methods of meditation. I read books on meditation, took classes on meditation, and listen to lectures.
It didn’t matter which venue I was in, I kept on hearing certain buzz words.
Words like, mindfulness, “runaway mind”, breath, observing thought, and letting go, were all topics of meditation education.
One thing that I couldn’t grasp was that all the instructors said the best meditation was done in a quite, serene setting. Most people today have busy, hectic schedules. It is difficult to find the time, or a tranquil setting, for meditating….so then what??
I came to the epiphany ….Pets are our ambassadors of meditation!!! Here’s Why.
What follows are mindfulness tips that you can learn from your pet and apply to your own life to help you reach life goals.
1. Live in the here and now:
Dogs and cats are very much here and now focused. They don’t sit around and ruminate about the past. They don’t lay awake at night, consumed with worry and anxiety. Instead, dogs tend to think about what is happening at this exact moment in time.Living in the here and now sometimes means begging for food and working you to toss them a treat.
2. Focus on self-care: Cats seem to relish in self care and happiness.. grooming themselves insistently. Did you ever notice your pet dog likes to curl up next to you and take naps? Have you ever spotted pet , occasionally wiggling around with a silly smile on his face?
They almost have a special power that enables them to be joyful. Happiness, however, cannot occur unless they are well rested. This is why they get cranky when they feel they are not getting enough sleep.
3. Forgiveness: Dogs do not hold grudges. They do not however hold onto feelings of resentment, anger and sadness. It should be noted however that dogs do know how to make you feel guilty if they feel neglected!
Every pet owner knows – that look they give you that says, “Hey – you forgot me.”
4. Make the most of every moment: A sad reality for many dog owners is that their pet pooch only lives for an average of 10-12 years (give or take). Cats 15-19 years. Pets are aware of their limited time on earth too and therefore make the most of every moment they are here.
Does your dog seem to have a need to put a paw on you, even when sleeping close by? They do this because they are truly making the most of the moment. Does your cat jump on your computer keyboard or nudge a book your reading…And hey – you have to admit that is super cute.
5. Breath: At the dog park / walking, or petting your cat on the couch…you take time to breath and savor the moment!
6. Self-acceptance: Most pets accept who they are. They do not put on airs or pretend to be something they are not. Sure, your little fur-child may think they are a prince or princess but that’s because you have lovingly spoiled them. In truth, dogs know what and who they are and live their life accepting this reality, including their strengths and limitations. As a pet owner you have to be both humble and present when picking up your dogs poop!
7. Awareness of other
Pets ability to sense the emotions of their owners. Anyone with a pet understands this concept. When you are happy, they amplify your state of joy. When you are sad, they come around more frequently to help cheer you up.
Dogs have “tuned into” you through observation and mindfulness.
What is clear however is that Pets truly are the ultimate mindful creatures. We can learn a great deal about living in the here and now by just watching what they do and how they live their lives. If one of your life goals is to live more mindfully, I suggest you hang out with your Pets.
Andrew Frishman, DVM practices at:
Progressive Animal Hospital
149 Route 202 & Lovell St,
Somers, NY 10589