Being Human is like Having a Dog

Do you expect a dog to be anything other than a dog?

We often Dog-sit for a Neighbor’s Dog

His name is Kindy, and that’s him in the field of flowers.

What strikes me is how similar my own mind is to Kindy’s mind.

For starters, Kindy is one stubborn little dog. We used to call it, “going out for a drag” instead of “going out for a walk.” Because once he decides to go in a particular direction, he will plant his feet and refuse to budge in our direction.

Also, please don’t leave him out of the pack. He wants to be included big time! just like me.

And when it comes to food, you can read “I want it” all over his face, just like me.

With other dogs, Kindy, being small, gets all insecure, puffed-up and either attacks or runs, unless the other dog is his own size. Sounds a lot like me with other people.

Oh, did I mention territorial? Please don’t skateboard past our house. That’s our land? Got it? Just like my money is mine… don’t even think about it!

It’s like I’ve got a Dog inside Me

A dog with all the basic emotions that run through Kindy. All the drama, the excitement, the sadness, the fear. To a certain degree, my life and Kindy’s life are quite parallel.

And I don’t think that’s ever going to change.

The dog brain is somehow hardwired into my brain, and short of surgery, I don’t think I’m ever going to lose Kindy’s “I want,” “I need,” mentality.

But I can make friends with it.

I Can Get Clear about It

There’s nothing inherently wrong with being like a dog. I mean what’s wrong with all the excitement and drama and emotions that come with living, wanting, running? It’s just like the changing of the seasons, and the drama of the natural world.

All the selfishness too. What’s wrong with it?

Nothing. Unless I take them seriously. Unless I believe the drama story. When I believe what my dog mind tells me, then I completely identify with my ever changing emotions and ride the roller coaster without end.

The Work is simply a way to notice that the dog in me is not really me. That part of me is allowed to be a dog. I just don’t have to believe its drama story anymore. Then I step off the roller coaster and enjoy watching my dog run here and there.

Then It’s like Having a Dog Again (Instead of Being One)

Do you expect a dog to behave maturely? Do you expect it to not be territorial? Do you expect it to be happy suddenly changing directions when there’s a tree to sniff?

I find that when I’m not expecting myself to be mature, I kind of laugh at myself the way I laugh at Kindy and his funny ways. And I’m kinder, and more patient with myself.

Even if I do The Work 10,000 times, I’m not going to change the beast in me. For me the only value in The Work is to help me stop taking my dog mind so seriously. Then I’m free.

Through inquiry I’m not a victim of it. Suddenly I see so many options. Ways to work around the limitations of my internal dog’s hard-wired mindset. Just like I have so many creative ways to keep both me and Kindy happy without changing him at all.

Have a great week,

“What I love about The Work is that we come to see that both states–what we call bliss and what we call ordinary–are equal. One state isn’t higher than the other. There’s nothing to strive for anymore, nothing to leave behind. That’s the beauty of inquiry–it doesn’t matter where we are, it’s all good.” — Byron Katie, Question Your Thinking, Change The World

Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.