Bad dog. Good dog.

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He said, “There are two dogs inside me.  One of the dogs is mean and evil.  The other dog is good.  The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.” Someone asked him which dog usually wins, and after a moment’s reflection, he answered, “The one I feed the most.”

-Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, Opening Quote, Meditations from the Mat

Day 313 – The struggle is real.  I float in and out of presences across my day.  Like Rolf (and many of humanity), “the memory of some recent failure, embarrassment, or anxiety supports me in the efforts to apply some forgotten truth to…life.”  We learn from mistakes when great pain is attached.   On a daily basis, I find I tread lightly on which dog I feed the most:  the evil dog or the good dog.  Listening to workplace banter (i.e., gossip), complaints about discipline, time wasted, collaborative nowhere lands, etc., as well as the mumblings and eye-rolling of adolescents primed for “testing,” serves naught, and yet, I find myself listening to it nonetheless, perhaps taking part here and there, and that is feeding the evil dog more.

Rolf describes the “maintenance of spiritual health” is held by the 8-limb path.  For me,  this is morning ritual:   movement, asana, pranayama, reflection, repeat.  Rolf continues, writing:  “I think of pratyahara as the decision not to fed the evil dog.  Dharana is the will to feed the good dog with consistency.”   With this in mind, I wake up and get on my mat.  Today, a delicious restorative yoga (and hour and 20 minutes) after 32belly dance classes yesterday and crossfit.  I feel asleep in supported child pose.  It was a marvelous way to feed the good dog at the beginning of my day.

And yet, too, I must not give in to struggle.  ‘Tis true, that “the essence” of dharana is the love we feed the good dog.   And the love we feed the god dog “sustains our attention, and sustained attention is dharana.”  In the workplace and in our struggles, this sustained attention can change our world.

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