I’m a meditator. I do it every day – well, nearly every day. I do it because it works for me. I used to teach it, but now I just share how I do it and over the years, it’s been a life-saver. Literally. But I still need to make a conscious effort to do it. I have to think to myself,
“Hmm, time to meditate”. Or “I feel overwhelmed/foggy/cranky/lost/emotional – I think I’d better go meditate”.
Sometimes, I need to access something in my psyche, or expand my understanding of an aspect of being human. And then I think “I must go and meditate”.
I have to think about it first.
Dogs seem to approach it from a different angle. They have clear boundaries about what they do. For instance, moving for play. Moving for comfort (i.e. to sneak on the bed, lift a leg on the fence, snack on a biscuit). Sleeping. Defending. Communicating. But they don’t do this in the same, jagged way that I do. They do it from a truly meditative place. They simply stay fully conscious of their needs in the moment and shift state accordingly. It’s fluid.
In the name of fairness, I first noticed this trait in sheep. I was on a solitary retreat in beautiful Wales, fasting, Yoga-ing, getting some very interesting dreams and visions – the whole works. I was pretty pleased with myself. I felt good. One night, in the frosty dark, I walked down a lane to the beach to enjoy the full moon. I decided to go back to the retreat house to meditate before sleeping. On the way from the beach, I came through a field of sheep, calmly lying on the frozen grass, breathing clouds of steam into the silver beams of moonlight. I stopped instantly as the thought formed in my mind. “These sheep don’t have to prepare to meditate, they are already doing it”.
I’ve come across herds of cows and horses in the day, in the night, at dawn, dusk and noon and found exactly the same sensation around them. Unless these animals are re-acting in fear or flight, they are meditating. Eating grass, swishing tails, scratching their butts on a fence, or watching the sky, I swear, they are truly meditative.
The truth about meditation is that we have to ‘learn’ it to remember what we already are. We are peaceful unless provoked. We are capable of living in the moment, fully occupied with the task at hand. We are capable of trusting our instincts and our deep inner knowing. We are capable of living without worry, without our heads being full of the ‘what next’. Still until I am as evolved as a dog, I must continue to practice until it becomes first nature, not second.