How to Learn from Dogs!

When we decided to re-home a large and unruly 6 month old labrador retriever last January, we had no idea what a great spiritual guru we had invited into our home. Samson the Wonderdog (as he is affectionately known) gives us regular reminders of simple spiritual and physical practises which we could all learn a lot from. I wanted to share some of his most profound teachings to date....

TRUST - Samson trusts that we will feed him, give him water, let him out to the toilet and walk him on a regular basis. He is a totally surrendered being. He knows that he is loved and that we will look after him.

How would your life be different if you trusted 100% that you are fully supported and that all your needs will be met?

LIVE IN THE PRESENT - Samson doesn't get stressed out about the future and he stays very much in the present moment at all times. Unlike us humans, he does not get himself all worked up about

"what ifs..." i.e."What if I don't get my walk today?", "What if Jenny forgets to put my dinner down for me?", "What if I don't catch that squirrel in the garden?".

How would your mind be different if you dropped thoughts of the past or future and stayed fully present to this moment right now?

BE OPEN TO RECEIVING LOVE AND AFFECTION - If Samson wants some love, affection or attention he just comes straight up to us and either sits his 7 1/2 stone body on our feet or puts his huge head on our laps so we will stroke him or give him a massage. He has no qualms whatsoever about asking for and receiving love.

How would your heart be different if you allowed yourself to really experience all the love that others feel for you?

LISTEN TO YOUR PHYSICAL ENERGY - Samson can be absolutely FULL of physical energy and bounding around the place like a mad thing one minute and then suddenly he will just collapse on the floor and lie down in the sun for a while. He allows himself to sleep or rest when he needs to and doesn't put that off because he has "so much to do".

How would your body be different if you listened to and respected its needs rather than listening to your mind?

HAVE FUN - There is nothing that Samson loves more than when we humans finally stop all our busy-ness and just play with him. Racing around the garden just for the fun of it, chasing a squirrel through the hedgejust for the fun of it or shaking a toy vigorously for no other reason that because it is FUN...this is heaven to Samson.

How would your days be different if you made a conscious decision to include some fun every day?

STRETCH REGULARLY - Every time Samson wakes up and at various times during the day, Samson goes into Downward Dog yoga posture to give his whole physical body and good stretch.

How would your flexibility and health improve if you stretched as regularly as Samson?

Such wisdom for one who is less than 2 years old......although actually, as I write this I realise that we were all this wise when we were that age. We trusted that we would be fed and cared for, we played all the time, we didn't worry about the future, we slept or ran about when we wanted to and we moved our bodies in a way that felt good. Maybe we should re-write the old adage about "The wisdom of age" and change it to "the wisdom of dogs and kids!"