My Dog the Teacher

By Published On: February 9, 2024

My Dog the Teacher

My Dog the Teacher

My Dog the Teacher

By Published On: February 9, 2024

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Dog
Reed Everingham

Provides counselling and psychotherapy services for individuals, couples, and groups. He is also a clinical supervisor and academic at Western Sydney and Deakin Universities. His approach is trauma-informed, gender-affirmative, and person-centred.

Disclaimer

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS THE VIEWS OF THE AUTHOR AND IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR THERAPEUTIC SUPPORT. PLEASE REACH OUT TO A REGISTERED THERAPIST IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING DISTRESS AND REQUIRE ASSISTANCE © REED EVERINGHAM CONSULTING.

I’m working from home, as you all know – and one of the best things about it is I get to spend a lot of time with my family, my garden, the kittens and my dog. Our dog Rose is a whippet, and she’s my role model in so many ways – but the thing I admire most, perhaps with a little tinge of jealousy, is her absolute presence.

Unconcerned with the past or future, her existence is entirely in the moment. If something is happening, she’s involved. If nothing is happening, she’s asleep in the sun. She is not burdened by past trauma or future expectation. You probably know a few people who come close to that dog-like state, but for most of us, presence is hard.

We replay, worry about, or regret events in the past, dwelling on what might, could, or should have been. We plan and anticipate the future despite knowing that our control or influence over it is tenuous at best. The present is, for most of us, the safest place to be – certainly in terms of our mental health – yet we are surrounded by a society that seems geared toward distracting us from this moment: a screen to watch, a plan to make, something to buy or yearn for, someone to aspire to, compare against, imitate, or despise.

My partner does regular yoga, and his mantra comes from the Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures. It translates as,

You have the right to your actions but not to their results. Never let the outcome be the motive, but do not be attached to inaction. Be steady in oneness and do the things that you must do. Be indifferent to failure or success – this equanimity is yoga.

It’s a bold set of instructions, perhaps much easier to follow 3000 years ago when written in simpler times. But in principle, this is the essence of a human being, as opposed to a human doing. If we could go about our duties without fixating on the outcome, the expectation, the fear of failure or the desire for success, those duties might be a lot more bearable.

If you need help with presence, the best teacher is nature. Watch clouds, plants, and animals. Feel the sun on your back. Notice the breeze in the trees. We’re so fortunate here in the mountains to have unlimited access to wild and domestic flora and fauna.

Rose sleeps beside me as I write this, blissed out in the warmth. She has no idea I’m planning to take her walking soon, but I know she will be enthused and excited to join me – and I can learn something from that. I am so thankful for her companionship and her wise teachings.

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Image Credit: Unsplash
Dog
Reed Everingham

Provides counselling and psychotherapy services for individuals, couples, and groups. He is also a clinical supervisor and academic at Western Sydney and Deakin Universities. His approach is trauma-informed, gender-affirmative, and person-centred.

Disclaimer

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS THE VIEWS OF THE AUTHOR AND IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR THERAPEUTIC SUPPORT. PLEASE REACH OUT TO A REGISTERED THERAPIST IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING DISTRESS AND REQUIRE ASSISTANCE © REED EVERINGHAM CONSULTING.

I’m working from home, as you all know – and one of the best things about it is I get to spend a lot of time with my family, my garden, the kittens and my dog. Our dog Rose is a whippet, and she’s my role model in so many ways – but the thing I admire most, perhaps with a little tinge of jealousy, is her absolute presence.

Unconcerned with the past or future, her existence is entirely in the moment. If something is happening, she’s involved. If nothing is happening, she’s asleep in the sun. She is not burdened by past trauma or future expectation. You probably know a few people who come close to that dog-like state, but for most of us, presence is hard.

We replay, worry about, or regret events in the past, dwelling on what might, could, or should have been. We plan and anticipate the future despite knowing that our control or influence over it is tenuous at best. The present is, for most of us, the safest place to be – certainly in terms of our mental health – yet we are surrounded by a society that seems geared toward distracting us from this moment: a screen to watch, a plan to make, something to buy or yearn for, someone to aspire to, compare against, imitate, or despise.

My partner does regular yoga, and his mantra comes from the Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures. It translates as,

You have the right to your actions but not to their results. Never let the outcome be the motive, but do not be attached to inaction. Be steady in oneness and do the things that you must do. Be indifferent to failure or success – this equanimity is yoga.

It’s a bold set of instructions, perhaps much easier to follow 3000 years ago when written in simpler times. But in principle, this is the essence of a human being, as opposed to a human doing. If we could go about our duties without fixating on the outcome, the expectation, the fear of failure or the desire for success, those duties might be a lot more bearable.

If you need help with presence, the best teacher is nature. Watch clouds, plants, and animals. Feel the sun on your back. Notice the breeze in the trees. We’re so fortunate here in the mountains to have unlimited access to wild and domestic flora and fauna.

Rose sleeps beside me as I write this, blissed out in the warmth. She has no idea I’m planning to take her walking soon, but I know she will be enthused and excited to join me – and I can learn something from that. I am so thankful for her companionship and her wise teachings.

I’m working from home, as you all know – and one of the best things about it is I get to spend a lot of time with my family, my garden, the kittens and my dog. Our dog Rose is a whippet, and she’s my role model in so many ways – but the thing I admire most, perhaps with a little tinge of jealousy, is her absolute presence.

Unconcerned with the past or future, her existence is entirely in the moment. If something is happening, she’s involved. If nothing is happening, she’s asleep in the sun. She is not burdened by past trauma or future expectation. You probably know a few people who come close to that dog-like state, but for most of us, presence is hard.

We replay, worry about, or regret events in the past, dwelling on what might, could, or should have been. We plan and anticipate the future despite knowing that our control or influence over it is tenuous at best. The present is, for most of us, the safest place to be – certainly in terms of our mental health – yet we are surrounded by a society that seems geared toward distracting us from this moment: a screen to watch, a plan to make, something to buy or yearn for, someone to aspire to, compare against, imitate, or despise.

My partner does regular yoga, and his mantra comes from the Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures. It translates as,

You have the right to your actions but not to their results. Never let the outcome be the motive, but do not be attached to inaction. Be steady in oneness and do the things that you must do. Be indifferent to failure or success – this equanimity is yoga.

It’s a bold set of instructions, perhaps much easier to follow 3000 years ago when written in simpler times. But in principle, this is the essence of a human being, as opposed to a human doing. If we could go about our duties without fixating on the outcome, the expectation, the fear of failure or the desire for success, those duties might be a lot more bearable.

If you need help with presence, the best teacher is nature. Watch clouds, plants, and animals. Feel the sun on your back. Notice the breeze in the trees. We’re so fortunate here in the mountains to have unlimited access to wild and domestic flora and fauna.

Rose sleeps beside me as I write this, blissed out in the warmth. She has no idea I’m planning to take her walking soon, but I know she will be enthused and excited to join me – and I can learn something from that. I am so thankful for her companionship and her wise teachings.

Image Credit: Unsplash
Dog
Reed Everingham

Provides counselling and psychotherapy services for individuals, couples, and groups. He is also a clinical supervisor and academic at Western Sydney and Deakin Universities. His approach is trauma-informed, gender-affirmative, and person-centred.

Disclaimer

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS THE VIEWS OF THE AUTHOR AND IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR THERAPEUTIC SUPPORT. PLEASE REACH OUT TO A REGISTERED THERAPIST IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING DISTRESS AND REQUIRE ASSISTANCE © REED EVERINGHAM CONSULTING.

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