Dogs are natural meditators. They do it daily, simply by being themselves and remaining present. It’s their natural state of being. Watch how your pup seems to stay in the moment without effort. They don’t need to be reminded to focus on their breath, repeat a mantra or watch their thoughts drift by. They intuitively enjoy each moment to the fullest. They are a living meditation and bringing them into your own practice will benefit you both.
Meditating with our dogs is a natural fit and it’s easy to do, they just need an invitation to join in. No training required. Ever noticed how they are naturally drawn to you while you are in a restful state? They are responding to your calming energy. Our bodies are comprised of energy and that energy moves beyond our own boundaries. We consistently exchange it with our pups and if we meditate together that energy harmonizes and gives us better connection, communication and understanding. Mutually.
Creating a deeper bond is as simple as making your sitting practice a habit and including your dog in the journey. It will ground them in the same way it does you. There are no big changes required. Simply find a quiet, comfortable space for your practice and allow them to come and go as they please. It won’t be long before they are encouraging you to increase your time meditating.
You can both expect increased benefits from a dual practice. In the same way that meditating with another person enhances your stillness, so does sitting with your canine kid. Their serene energy can help you maintain your Zen during the most turbulent meditations. With regular practice, this will extend to better sleep, less anxiety, and overall increased wellbeing for both of you.
Sitting (or lying) meditation isn’t the only type canines are good at. Instead of asking your dog to join your practice, how about actively engaging in theirs? Walking meditations can be as profound as a sitting practice. Dogs can teach us a thing or to here, for sure. On your next exploration, let them lead the way and leave your phone behind. Being present is the greatest gift.
Pay attention to how your buddy enjoys every detail of their walk. Just like them, take your time and enjoy the minutia of your environment. You are guaranteed to notice things you’ve never noticed before. Let that inspire you to model their behavior even more and try to use all your senses. Smell, see, hear, touch and even taste (live near a fruit tree?) your surroundings. Enjoy the weather, breathe the fresh air and take a moment to let gratitude wash over you. This is what life is about. Your furry friend has known this all along and they’ll be thrilled to fully share these moments with you.
Simply enjoying your dog can be another form of meditation. The next time you are petting them, consider how mindful you are during the act and adjust accordingly. Focus only on them, deepen your breath and turn off the TV. When your mind begins to wander, consciously bring it back to the moment you are sharing and send thoughts of love to your friend. You will both feel calmer, more connected and loved.
Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere and while doing almost anything. It can also, give everyone what they need in less amount of time. Whether your dog wants you to throw a ball 500 times or give a three-hour belly rub, do so with true presence. That’s all it takes to make fewer ball tosses or tummy pats infinitely more valuable. Quality over quantity is essential. Each time you practice your dog parent duties with present moment awareness your connection gets stronger and each encounter more meaningful.
Knowing how to connect on a deeper level is one thing, but doing it consistently is another. And consistency is the most important ingredient. Any time you meditate or have a moment of shared presence, you bond. Doing so on a regular basis cements that bond into an extraordinary relationship. Work towards your best person/doggy relationship by ritualizing your practices. Set in place a routine that your pup can count on. The automation of it, will help you both maintain balance, create good habits and have something to look forward to.
Meditation might come effortlessly for our dogs, but it’s us that bring the routine. The human/canine bond is a perfect meditative match full of meaningful lessons on each side. Our dogs are going to meditate and live with presence with or without us. Why not combine our meditation journeys and walk the path together? Along the way, expect to learn from them, teach to them and truly “be” with them. Ultimately, reaping all the magnificent rewards together.