On Non-Grasping

The following is a clunky metaphor, to be sure. Don’t think I’m not aware of it. But it is a picture I recently drew for a student caught up in the type-A push and pull of yoga practice: how to be patient and remain present in the process when all you want is the freedom of a quiet mind.

Imagine you encounter a dog. A big dog. Let’s say a VERY big dog. This dog is not tethered, is not leashed to any stake. You like the look of this dog, your heart is joyous and full at the prospect of petting and loving and squishing this beautiful dog. And the dog knows it.

The dog gets VERY excited and begins leaping up onto you; paws in your face, tongue in your nose, your ears, your mouth. You try to push it down but it leaps at you again. You try to make it sit, stay, lay down, but it insists on climbing all over you. In it’s desire to please you and love you and be your companion, it actually pushes you away. You leave, quickly, and it takes a long while for you to approach another friendly dog.

But what if this same dog had discipline? What if all of that eager Love were channeled inward and tethered the dog to it’s seat? If you encounter this dog, his tail wagging wildly, bobbing gently from side to side, you may be drawn forward. As you approach this dog it lays down and offers it’s belly to be scratched, so ready to accept your Love instead of imposing it’s Love upon you. You bend down to him, rub his belly, scratch his ears, curl up with him on the ground and cuddle and play. You find that you and the dog have engaged yourselves, together in the moment. One has not overpowered the other, there is no control to gain. When you both are exhausted, you can walk away and the dog curls up in his place and naps.

Now I invite you to roll this around in your head. What if you were the dog and the person was your practice, your quiet moment, your mindless freedom. Which dog do you want to BE?

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