He’s been sick, my Yellow Lab Ben. Diagnosis had been laryngeal paralysis and now this past Friday widespread cancer was added to the list of our ache. The vet’s recommendation was not to wait too long. She’s coming to the house early Tuesday morning. In the meantime she suggested I indulge him with whatever he wants to eat. There was a bit of relief in knowing the futility, making the decision, and getting final preparations in place.
When we got home we went in the back yard. He sat and watched as I took a small shovel and scraped little frozen patches of phlegm and blood off the snow. Then for just a moment I felt a dark yet unbounded and paradoxically luminous space where life and death come together and join with the Infinite. I was reminded that suffering has been the door to higher consciousness for me in the past and accepting my pain is the only way to soften it. The inevitability of change and the illusion of control also loomed large. And later that day I was presented with a Meister Eckhart quote: “Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
I’m not sure I will know how to organize my time going forward since everyday for over ten years had been planned around our daily, mostly off leash walks, in a wood, on a lakeshore or in a dog park. And I am definitely not sure I want to give my heart to another dog to tear. Rudyard Kipling knew The Power of the Dog.
What if there were other ways to higher consciousness?