Today’s one of those slow-moving days that bother me with the heaviness of my own pondering on all the sad lives spent in cages because families thought they were running for freedom. It is a day my dog wonders why I’m hanging around his neck searching for comfort and possibly being a nuisance to his canine soul. Even I don’t know why.

We spend a lot of time sitting in contemplation on a park bench. At first, I considered it to be a waste of time, but then a young man stopped to ask, “What’s your secret to looking so peaceful?” I glanced around to make sure he was talking to me before answering.

“You must have caught me during one of those moments when my head is empty of all thought.” I tossed off this response with such nonchalance I didn’t realize its significance.

“Ah, yes, you’re a contemplative. Very inspiring. I’m stuck at the crossroads of making the decision to become a monk. Thank you.” He smiled, petted my dog, and moved along.

I worried over the young man’s decision possibly being influenced by the carelessness of my words. Upon further reflection, I realized I had just emptied my head of all burdensome thoughts to go searching for a corner of my mind not occupied by the chaos of our country’s collective reality.

Perhaps I clung to my dog out of a flicker of recognition dogs are closer to the divine than humans. At that very moment, I saw a golden light shimmer from a wild flower growing nearby and knew God was telling me I was close to my own recognition of being one with all the other souls. This gave me a glimpse as to why I felt the need to ponder all the sad families.

When I heard these sanctimonious thoughts rattling inside my head, I immediately tilted my head sideways and let all the thoughts fall to the ground. And then went back to showing the world a peaceful reflection and loosened the grip on my dog.

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