The Zen of Dog

Jul 24, 2010 by

By Lisa Campion

What is it with dogs being so smelly and nasty? Dogs love smelly stuff, the grosser the better and mine is allergic to smelling good.  We just washed him with this coconut smelling shampoo and he obviously couldn’t stand it since he went right out and rolled in the ickiest, stinkest goo he could find.

So I had this crazy idea about making a kind of dog shampoo that dogs would think smelled good.  Here are the smells I think my dog would like in a fur care product.

  • Other Dog’s Poo
  • Funky Skunk
  • Random Dead Thing
  • Ten Year Old Sneaker
  • Stinky Swamp Bog Dawg
  • Au De Toilet Brush

I think those would really sell!  If only dogs had money, opposable thumbs and could buy stuff.  Not sure the owners would like them too much, so maybe I need to do a little market research.

dirty dog

I am all about the Zen of Dog.  My dog is a Zen Master, he totally lives in the moment.   Getting in the car is the best thing that ever happened. Getting out of the car five minutes later is equally tail wagging.  I love it how he is soooo happy to see me every time, even if I am only gone for a few minutes.  It’s nice to be greeted with such enthusiasm.

I think it helps that he is not too bright, really. He is a Golden Retriever so he has the biggest heart on the planet but not a whole lot going on between the ears.  He can’t figure out where the squirrels have gone after he chases them up a tree. He stares at the spot where the squirrel was and can’t see it chattering away above his head. I am fairly certain he just wants to play with them anyways.

It must be nice to be him, with his heart all open all the time and totally in the present moment. People spend hours of meditation and therapy to try and experience a few moments of the state that he lives in all the time.  Yep. It’s a dog’s life.  Plus all the napping, sleeping, snoring and dozing looks like a real plus.  Sign me up!

I loved the movie UP with the talking dogs. Whoever did that might have modeled Doug the Dog on my Golden.  “I hid on your porch, cuz I LOVE you. Oh please be my master, please!”  That is so what he would say.

I often envy his lack of angst. I don’t think he ever wakes up in the morning and wonders if it’s ok to be him. “Is it ok to be a dog today?  What I am supposed to do now?  Do I wag my tail?  Maybe I was supposed to be a cat and being a dog is all wrong?  Waaaahhhh!”

brady 3

Nope, that sounds more like me on a bad hair day.  He doesn’t have angst about anything.  I love it how the first thing he does after a bath is to go find something smelly to roll in. He is a dog. Dogs smell like dogs not like a Pina Colada.   The other day this happened and after the bath we gave him, he was outside rolling in the grass snorting and farting, completely contented. I thought it was adorable until I realized that he was rolling in a dead chipmunk. He didn’t care. He thinks he is awesome and so do I.

There is a wisdom about cats too and they are great spiritual teachers. They don’t have the same Zen that dogs do, however. They are more a reflection of your Lower Self.  Cats are so gloriously self-centered, that is exactly what your Lower Self is like, so if you want to understand the under side of your soul, study your cat!

They are shameless and guiltlessly wired to get their needs met.  Food need. Going outside need. Killing things need. Patting, affection and love need. All done on their terms. If you have a cat, you secretly know that you serve it and that is that.  There are happy moments when your needs are the same as their needs, but other then that, they allow you serve them only cuz they haven’t figured out how to open doors and cans yet.

Here is a funny cat story.cats

My husband came to me the other day and said, “What does it mean if your cat eats your power animal?”  He had been sitting outside in our garden meditating and had a profound experience with a pair of cardinals that live in our garden.  Later that same day, his cat Jinx showed up with the cardinal in his mouth. My poor husband was horrified.

The cat ate his power animal!  We never did decide what that means.  Cat’s rule? That is cats for you. There is a gloriousness about being that unapologetically self serving.  I admire that, knowing that I need more of that healthy narcissism in my life and the cats are masters at that.  But they are not the same Zen of Dog.

Did you know that your heart can’t really open up all the way until you have that Zen moment and you activate your higher states of consciousness?  In the Energy Medicine Institute, we teach that the heart can’t truly open until the 7th (crown) chakra opens.  The 7th chakra on most people opens and shut like a door, about a hundred times a day.

When we have an expansive thought, like “I can do anything!  We are all connected, and everything is one!”  our crown chakra opens to the limitless possibility that is the universe. Its function is to help us tap into this divine, infinite frequency and it does that very well, when we allow it to.

This divine, universal, infinite energy streams down into our open 7th chakra where it slams into the uncompromising, concrete wall of your 6th chakra, your mind and all its crazy, limited beliefs.

“No, I can’t do that, that’s too much!  What a stupid thought,”  our mind tells us, coughing up some old belief system that is so programmed into us that we don’t even know it is there. Then the 7th chakra slams shut again. As I said, this happens about a hundred times a day.   That is why all of the best religions and philosophies of the world have tricks to help you get your mind out of the way.  In Buddhism, you get a koan or a riddle that you can’t actually solve. (What is the sound of one hand clapping?) It’s like giving your mind a Rubik’s Cube and making it sit in a corner, puzzling. When the mind is out of the way, the 7th chakra and the heart can now do their thing unimpeded.

I think that is why it works for my dog that he is not the sharpest tack on the board.  The mind is good at other things, like going into Cumbies and buying a gallon of milk, but that is pretty much all it’s useful for. The mind is meant to serve its master, our soul. But so often the mind, in its fear, in its need to try and organize the chaos of the world, hijacks the whole system. It was never meant to be in charge, it can’t even tell what is real!  Your mind, even if it’s clever is not very wise.

Once it’s out of the way, then we can stay open to infinite possibility.  When that energy actually makes it past the rat trap of our mind, it streams down through our whole energy field and opens the heart. That is one of the most incredible experiences anyone can ever have.


We can enter, in those moments, into an ecstatic state. It happens to me a lot when I am in nature. I see a sunset or a sunrise and I feel connected to the universe and the earth in some powerful way. I feel it when I sit at the edge of the ocean and melt into the rhythm of the waves.  I am so touched by the beauty of the moment that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. This is the open heart and the open mind. I feel expansive, connected, open to everything and everyone. That is when we stop THINKING and start BEING.

Maybe you get that feeling when you hold a brand new baby. Or listen to great pieces of music (The Kyrie Eleisonalways gets me there.) or see great works of art. Sometimes in moments of sexual union, in the afterglow, you feel this openness, the oneness that melts all the boundaries, shuts down the insanity of your mind and creates bliss and peacefulness.  And opens you to the divine. That is why we say, “Oh God!”  Right?

I sometimes feel that way when I exercise, or do yoga and meditate.  Maybe for you it’s golf or fishing.  Or playing with your grandkids or pulling weeds in your garden. Then your mind goes on autopilot and allows you to be fully present in the moment, open heart, open mind. These are the moments of magic and mystery, the ones were we feel alive.  All of you will have your own way to get there and I hope you practice it frequently. Just remember, you can only feel your way there, you can never think your way there. I often feel inspired to reach for that by hanging out with my dog, regardless of how he smells.

After all, God is just Dog spelled backwards!

Brady 2


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