By Amanda Ree of Sama Dog
Our spiritual life is deeply personal and constantly evolving. The path twists and turns as we determine the best practices for our own growth. There are times when the road looks as if it were meant to be walked alone. After all, the world’s historical spiritual people are known to have lived in monasteries and on top of mountains. Current masters live in today’s world though, with the same modern distractions and frustrations that we all have. Proving that while the path may still be personal, it is large enough for company. Maybe even the perfect size for a canine companion to walk along your side.
Your furry friend is already enjoying a rich spiritual life. They show off his yoga skills daily with downward dog, are the best examples of how to practice present-moment awareness and demonstrate their joy for mindful walking. They are natural companions on your spiritual journey. Here are a few ways to expand your practices to include them, and everyone will be better for it.
Non-verbal Communication Skills
Most of our dogs know several human words. They are intelligent for sure, but even smarter when allowed to communicate in ways that are more natural to them. They listen to tone, pick up on facial cues and simply feel your energy to obtain information. Ever wonder how your trusty companion knows when you will be home? They’re listening to their intuition.
Non-verbal communication is very intuitive and more refined than language – we would be wise to gain more practice here. Learn to connect with your dog in their own language and expand their connection. It grants you better perception of your pup’s mind-body needs. Think beyond food, water, walk… and aspire to care for them on a deeper level. Work on developing this skill with your friend and you’ll also gain a deeper understanding of the non-physical world.
Anyone with a canine family member can tell you that a dog’s walk is more of a moving meditation. They instinctually enjoys every second in nature. Their walks become our daily reminders to live more consciously. If your sidewalk doesn’t feel spiritual enough, try moving closer to nature. Walk around a lake, by the ocean or take a good hike. No music, cell phone or other distractions. Just you and your dog, bonding, appreciating and being present.
Don’t forget your four-legged yogi the next time you pull out the mat either. They are naturals who could probably teach you a pose or two. Remember that we’re all energy bodies. Your energy has no boundaries and will envelop your dog. Invite them to your yoga practice and share a calm, centering experience for you both.
Meditation for Two
Group meditation has benefits. Shared energy, remember? Form your own meditation group of two with your furry friend. Simply find a quiet, comfortable place, and allow your canine to attend. They will instinctively be drawn to you and quite easily find their own Zen. If they are close, rest your hand on them while you breathe deeply. They are sharing energy with you too and it might be exactly what you need for a more grounded discipline.
A daily practice with your dog will keep the two of you in sync and ready for anything that comes your way. Even if you aren’t on a spiritual journey, meditation has been proven to increase health and well-being: lowered blood pressure, increased immunity and better sleep to name a few. It’s a must for you both.
Canines can use a vacation now and then too! Anything to break away from the usual routine is good for the soul. Think of them when you plan your next getaway. Time away becomes an instant spiritual retreat when they are by your side. Your buddy’s presence forces you to go out, explore and meet new people. On break you’ll have the time to really enjoy these explorations together. Delight in all the newness, follow your dog’s lead and experience everything… twice.
It’s getting easier to include our pups in our lives. More hotels and restaurants are becoming pet friendly. It’s common to see water bowls outside (sometimes inside) of retail establishments too. All signs that dogs are being appreciated for the valuable beings they are. Consider bringing yours along during your daily routines. The stimulation will do them good and having them close is a constant reminder to live in the moment and revel in the mundane.
Improving your spiritual life doesn’t have to be a solo project. Who better to invite than one of the most spiritual beings you know? Your dog is a living example of unconditional love, non-judgment, forgiveness, present-moment awareness and more. They demonstrate how to “be” simply by being themselves. Welcome them to join you on the path and let their innate wisdom be another guide to a more spiritual life.
Visit us at SamaDog.com and arrange a complimentary consultation to help deepen your relationship and understanding of your dog.
Photos courtesy of Jamie Fields of Shutter Pup Photography