Below is a summer rebroadcast of an earlier post. It is slightly humorous, but also holds a deeper truth about the perceptions of what we see and hear around us every day. Whatever we see and feel about the very real difficult events that are going on around us right now, we have to acknowledge that our interpretation is limited by our perception.
Early on Labor Day morning four friends meet to do walking and sitting meditation in Rock Creek Park. After a nice long session of silent sitting they are discussing their experiences.
Meditator One says, “that barking dog was really irritating me and it was almost impossible for me to have a good meditation, I found it very distracting.”
Meditator Two says, “I was lost in a train of thought and that barking dog was really useful to bring me back into the present moment, I was just focusing on the barking.”
Meditator Three says, “I guess I noticed the dog, but the sound just blended in with the crickets and all the other sounds to make a nice white noise.”
Meditator Four says, “What dog?”
Same dog, same place, same time for all four people, but their perception of the sound and if it was positive, negative, neutral or non-existent was completely different.
We get so attached to our perception of the world and what we believe others must see and feel that it is an important reminder that our perception is not their reality. When we are able to separate ourselves from the action, “a dog barking,” we are able to reduce the immediate impulsive desire for either deciding a feeling or action is negative and pushing away or deciding it is positive and clinging.
The alternative does not mean that we never move away from things (a hot stove, an injustice) or towards things (our beautiful partner, peace), but it does mean we are able to do it with discernment. Once we can recognize that our feeling of positive or negative of something is completely encased in our own story and perception, we create the freedom to make wise judgments.
The barking dog is.
Neither positive, negative or neutral.
Or perhaps you’re the one wondering, “what dog?”