Over 20 years ago, The New Yorker magazine ran a cartoon with a dog sitting in front of a computer, one paw on the keyboard. The caption read: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”
Here I am, world! Jumping off the screen and into your lap. Being a dog is a joy much of the time. Offering unconditional wet-nose and bright eyes love and getting love in return. Sniffing and licking all the delicious fragrances senses can behold. Chasing after the wind, rolling in stuff, sleeping happily on the grass. Wagging my tail, then doggy biscuits are offered, or food miraculously appears in my bowl. Yet, despite an over-abundance of beauty, there are times when I’m not feeling it, and find myself deep in the dog house. If Master comes home upset, there are times he behaves badly. And as the saying goes, “some people always kick the dog that’s closest to their foot.” There are also times when I’m the victim of my own doing. Caught in painful feelings of sadness, boredom, anger, anxiety or fear. In those moments of lost puppy love and joy I can be found in the dog house. Sometimes pouting, feeling alone and sorry for myself. Other times I’m howling at the moon, even when the moon is not visible. But, the mailman and the neighbors know. They have heard the howl!
In order to throw out the old and gratefully accept the new year, I’m reviewing my thoughts, actions and feelings, and expressing regret for past wrongs. By acknowledging, accepting and comforting them, they can transform. I’ll sincerely recite the following poem about repentance (regret), and greet the lightness and freedom, which I’ve before experienced.
All wrongdoing arises from the mind.
When the mind is purified, what trace of wrong is left?
After repentance, my heart is light like the white clouds
that have always floated over the ancient forest in freedom.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Chanting Book
From this moment on, I’m intending to fulfill my own true dog nature, with a re-dedication, daily. And with my heart, tail, nose and bark, an aspiration that we all awaken to love, gratitude and truth, together.