Stretched out in a small patch of sunshine on my office floor, Henry snorts and snores- managing to pull me out of the e-mail abyss that has consumed me for the past couple of hours. BOLO is alert and resting peacefully on the couch (an incredibly rare moment) and calmly tolerates our social media director as she balances various objects on her head and captures perfect instagram photos with her iPhone. They are such good dogs. I watch the scene and reflect over how they have spent their day the past seven hours. It’s quite a contrast to how I have spent mine.
Unlike my dogs, who can go from 0 to 60 and back effortlessly, my brain seems to remain on overdrive most of the time and, even though meditation and mindfulness are popular practices these days, I am challenged to clear my mind enough to fall into the perfect zen state. Constant connectivity is the reason so many people are proactively seeking ways to just “turn off and tune out” in order to recharge.
We are so connected to everything and yet to nothing at the same time. I blame it on our interpretation of the old saying “an apple a day would keep the doctor away”, i.e- good health and well-being. As usual, we have “supersized” the concept and gone from an apple a day to an apple a second- Apple iphone, Apple ipad, Apple imac…24/7, anywhere…anytime.
Here is just one example of why I desperately need to learn to meditate. I am driving up to LA for an appointment. My car is easily transformed into a “moving university” the moment I hit play on the podcast I downloaded earlier. I admit, it’s not a meditative podcast, it’s a business podcast. I am learning some great stuff when all of a sudden, “BING”, a text comes in. I can’t take my eyes off the road but I’m instantly distracted by the voice in my head now wondering who that could be. The moment the traffic comes to a halt, standard protocol driving the 405 around LA, I grab my phone to look at the text. While I am holding it, the phone rings. Of course reflex has my index finger hitting the green button to answer the call (speaker phone…I am driving after all). Once I hang up, I review the text. As traffic begins to move forward again, I try to return to the podcast but my brain is so off track, I am really no longer taking in the valuable information.
I have declared many times that dogs are my zen. They truly force me to be present when I am alone with them on walks, but I want to learn how to take that to the next level and really dedicate time for quiet meditation with them and yet- I have no clue how to really get started with this practice. Fortunately, one quick search on Google provided me with some great resources on how to get started.
I found numerous self guided meditative programs available online or through smartphone apps. I immediately downloaded one. I also discovered James Jacobson, author of the book, “How to Meditate with Your Dog”. Fabulous!! He highlights that if you have a dog, you have a natural meditative guru available to help you find your zen. I could not agree more. If you are anything like me, the most difficult part of meditating is sitting still, doing nothing, and allowing my mind to shut off the multiple internal conversations. According to Jacobson, “Including your dog can help eliminate wandering thoughts. Placing your hand on your dog, focusing on his/her breathing, and the feel of his/her fur can also help ground you and move you into a meditative state”. Considering research indicates meditation plays a significant role in one’s overall health and happiness, why not give it a try. You can use these tips from the book to get started and then download an app to follow a guided program.
- Start by sitting or lying with your dog.
- Place one hand on the dog’s chest and another on his back near his hindquarters.
- Notice your dog’s breathing and mimic it.
- Breathe together for as little as a few minutes or as long as you’re both comfortable.
- Within a few days, you’ll notice that your dog starts following your breath and you’ll be sharing moments when you’re connected by breath.
As you learn to find your zen, make sure to do it in style…check out the latest line of Dog is My Zen products from Dog is Good!
I am so completely “down with dog” and “one with dog”