Three days ago we adopted a dog which had unfortunately been kept in a cage for the first year of her life. She thus comes with many problems: shyness, fear, skittishness, hesitancy and more. We have two other dogs that were likewise both pound dogs who also came with issues. One of our dogs took 6 months before any meaningful eye contact or trust developed. This new dog seemed destined for the same long-term hesitancy.
This morning, our new dog woke early so I took her to the basement with me when I went down for my morning meditation. I had to carry her down the basement steps because she is afraid to any new territory. At the bottom of the steps, I let her loose and she slowly began to sniff her way around. I let her slowly investigate the scary basement while I sat down to start meditating on my elevated meditation platform — a stack of old cardboard covered with my Tibetan rug. Within 5 minutes our new shy, skittish dog put one paw on my platform and slowly (over 3 minutes) decided to join me. She came up on my little platform (brave for her) and curled up right in front of me. She sat quietly with me for 20 minutes until she heard the floor boards above us creak as my daughter woke and walked into the living room to sit in front of our warm heater — her morning ritual. Our sitting ended, and I carried our meek dog upstairs, ate breakfast, kissed everyone goodbye and drove to work.
Later in the day I was rounding on my patients in the hospital when my wife called me saying, “What did you do with our little dog? Your meditation cured her. She is running all around the house and is happy and playful. She is a completely new dog — over night !”
Wow, is that a miracle story or what?
Miracle stories are made up of exactly this sort of thing. I remember helping to create tons of this type of story in my Christian days. Some religiously liberal folks may chastise my skepticism by saying, “Sure, it may not be a miracle, but why not just let it be a mystery and inspiration in your life?”
I would reply that there are lots of ways to explain our dog’s improvement without thinking that the deep vibes of my peaceful meditation magically healed her poor shattered psyche. For instance, it could simply be timing–the dog finally fit in and was not as scared as we imagined. And I am sure there are other possible theories outside of psychic magic. Besides, my meditative skills suck.
There are lots of reasons I feel that allowing the mind to find hope in such magic only leads to eventual disappointment. Instead, disciplining the mind to understand the true nature of reality while finding joy in that rawness is more valuable, in the long run, than the false hopes of an imaginary theology or philosophy.
Sure, it takes magic out of the day, but the day is full of all sorts of other real magic without the lies.
By the way, our new dog is named “Dharma”. Seriously.
Question for readers: Have you been tempted to create a miracle story recently?