Dialogue between a little dog named Maya and myself.
or Zen Buddhism in a nutshell.
Without having an exciting life, I could not understand Maya’s ongoing happiness, even serenity so, one morning, I took her for a one-on-one chat and asked her:
“Maya: tells me how can you be so happy and serene all the time”?
Maya could not answer verbally but she looked at me intensively trying to fulfill my quest. I could perceive in her eyes her compassion. She was thinking about how to help me the best he could. Her answer- was full of wisdom, logic, and common sense.
It is easy Daddy (that’s what Maya is calling me”); listen to me carefully.
Obviously, I do not have to face zillions of responsibilities that humans have to deal with.
However, the keys to maintaining my happiness and serenity are in nonspecific order”
2- PRACTICING MEDITATION:
Meditation is essential to achieve serenity, well-being, and eventually Awakening as you call it.. Meditation means mindfulness-based mental focusing on something such as breathing. To focus is to create a mental anchor to control our mind. It is used to delete incoming thoughts to achieve clear and restful mind. During the day I am not trying to think too much unless to make an important decision.I know that most of my thoughts are unnecessary, just tricks created by my little mind to feed my ego and delude me away from true reality. Thinking too much is like talking too much to myself When I am at the same time the talker and the listener; it is nonsense and a waste of energy.
Finally, meditation is helping me in using my mind like a mirror: The mind should reflect things, situations, and people as they are without judgment and not as I want them to be. Life, animals, humans, and events are just what they are, nothing more nothing less.
2- PRACTICING ONGOING MINDFULNESS:
To be mindful is to pay attention, to be aware, and to focus on something without any judgment or decision. To what am I mindful you may ask? To everything outside and inside self.
a - Mindful while practicing meditation
b - Mindful of the present moment, its environment & its content:
I am living moment to moment with no nostalgia for my past nor hope or worry for my future since both of them are, in fact, just fictional concepts like time. They are very useful in our day-to-day life but they do not exist except in our mind. Remember this: only the present moment exists, and I /you exist only in the NOW
c- mindful of what I am doing right now at the moment. No multitasking. This includes being mindful to what I see, heard, smell, touch, taste, and do.
d - Mindful of my ongoing thoughts & feelings & their traps:
Like in meditation, being mindful of a thought is like having one thought on top of the other. Since our mind cannot handle two thoughts at the same time the initial one can be deleted immediately rather than being carried for hours and be a slave of it. I am also very suspicious of all my thoughts/feelings. Coming from my mind does not mean they are truthful. My mind is a fantastic instrument but also my worse enemy.
e- Mindful of the fact that my ego-driven mind is the main source of my negativities and others' suffering.
Most of our suffering and dissatisfaction dad come from our ego-centered mind producing ongoing desire, hatred, fear, illusion, and misunderstanding. As a dog, my ego-self is minuscule when compared with humans’ ego so my desires are reduced to love, food, chewing my bone, playing with my red ball, going outside for a pee and a poop, and having good sleep. You see Dad no anger, no craving, no "I want this or I want that", no anxiety, no dreams, and no illusion. No past, no future. Controlling my ego self is best achieved by practicing meditation.
f- Mindful in keeping an open mind:
Questioning my beliefs, opinions, and judgments while respecting the opinions of other dogs.
g- Mindful of the fundamental& factual realities of life. It is called wisdom
1) That only the present moment exists, and this is only in the NOW that I am alive. Being in the past can bring regret/guilt/ grief, and being in the future can bring false hopes even if planning is mandatory.
2) That everything in the Universe is transient:
You said that these words are the last ones mentioned by the Buddha while dying.
3) That nothing can be controlled.
4)- That everything in the Universe is interconnected without any self-entity:
No self exists as a unique, independent, separate, self-sustained self-entity.
Zen called it “No-self. I know that I am a dependant on you, and you cannot survive w/o
the environment. We are all “interbeings”.
5)- Realizing that events, situations, and living beings are what they are and not what I want them
to be or not to be. and don’t take them as a granted Holly grail.
6) That true happiness comes only from the inside self since outside sources of happiness are
endless and therefore never satisfied 100%.
Finally but not least:
3- RESPECTING ALL LIVING CREATURES & THEIR ENVIRONMENT:
I am revering everything around me. I am not judging living things nor react emotionally to them. When you are upset at me because I made a mistake I am not mad at you since I know you love me anyway. To be angry is, in fact, a reaction of our ego, mine is too small for that.
4- MAINTAINING ETHICAL BEHAVIOR (In familial, social, and professional situations)
Since I am prevented from talking and writing I cannot use bad words to offend other dogs.
Human words and water are sharing the same trap: easy to pour impossible to retrieve. I am also behaving properly with everything around me with respect.
5- SHARING LOVE, PROMOTING COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS:
It is called Metta in Zen literature. I am receiving great love from you and I am loving you of you all the time as much as you love me. To love is to be one with others. Most humans don’t.
Maya took a pause and said:
Daddy, take time to think about what I just said.
You will realize that, if you practice like me, serenity, equanimity, and eventually Awakening are around the corner. Humans call this practice, the practice of Zen. No dogma, just common sense.
Woof Woof Woof ……TX