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  • Jill Lawson

Go Sweet or Go Snarky? You Tell Me!


Every four weeks or so, I submit a new meditation to Om Yoga and Lifestyle Magazine. Writing these articles keeps me grounded and connected to my practice. However, during the Covid lockdowns, the crazy political landscape, and the frequent anxieties of last year, I decided I needed to reveal the truth of what was going through my mind while writing fluffy idealistic meditations in such bizarre times. For each sweet meditation, I created a snarky version.


For example, I wrote the following (sweet) meditation in the thick of 2020's insanity. I just came out in the May issue.


The second (snarky) rendition is a little less romantic.


Which one do you like? Tell me!


Sweet..


Most of us adopt a dog or a cat because pets give us joy and offer companionship and emotional support. These qualities are beneficial in stressful times. Whether we are greeted with excitement and a hurricane of licks on our face when we come home from a long day or have a warm, furry body purring comfortably on our lap while we work from home, our animals help us let go of that which disrupts our peace of mind. Having a pet not only fosters our health and wellness by calming us down, keeping us active, and offering company, our pets can also help us with our meditation practice.


If your mind is like an excitable terrier behind a squirrel, this meditation is for you. If you have a terrier that cannot sit quietly, you can still let it help you meditate; however, it is best to find a time when your pet is as calm as you wish your mind to be.


Come to a comfortable position with your dog or your cat. If you have a bird, a reptile, or any other "pet," this meditation will still work. Take several deep breaths and give your pet a few pats on the back. Now, take a moment to let your gaze follow the outline of your pet. For example, look at your pet's face, then trace your pet's legs, back, feet, and tail with your eyes. Become aware of the subtle aspects of your pet. Do you see a few gray hairs you hadn't noticed before? Maybe you have become acutely conscious of the way your dog's ribcage moves with each breath. Try to detect at least five nuances that you didn't see before.


Now, narrow your focus even more. Can you see how the light reflects off your puppy's wet nose? Do you see varying shades of pink on the pads of your cat's feet? Continue to deepen your awareness of your pet as you concentrate on the many subtleties you once overlooked.


If you have come this far in the meditation, pat yourself on the back. The most challenging part of any meditation is getting beyond the initial struggle to quiet the mind long enough to reap the benefits. It's easy to quit because our minds, like the terrier, struggle to be still. Having a place to channel your attention is vital in getting beyond that initial challenge, and your pet offers the perfect opportunity to do so.



Snarky...


Many people have adopted a dog or a cat during the covid crisis because pets offer companionship and emotional support. While you kiss your social calendar goodbye, you can be kissing a furry friend at home all day long. How cool is that? Having a pet has benefits beyond offering company. Pets can help us meditate.


If your mind is like an excitable terrier striving to unearth a sneaky chipmunk, this particular meditation is for you. If you have a terrier that cannot sit still, I'm sorry. Your sanity is directly related to the outward behavior of the animal you choose to cohabitate with. Perhaps you should have thought that through.


Come to a comfortable position with your dog or your cat. If you have a tarantula, a reptile, or any uncommon "pet," you probably spend a lot of time alone and are not the least bit upset about the quarantine. However, because everyone benefits from meditating, this meditation will still work for you. Take several deep breaths and give your pet a few pats on the back, unless it's a large, black scorpion in a glass tank. If it is, WTF? And ew! Just ew.


Now, take a moment to let your gaze follow the outline of your pet. For example, look at your pet's face, then trace your pet's legs, back, feet, and tail with your eyes. Don't worry. Fido won't think you've suddenly turned into Hannibal Lector. He likely will pay no mind to it because he's secretly tired of hanging around you all day since you've been working from home. Become aware of the subtle aspects of your pet. Do you see a few gray hairs you hadn't noticed before? Great. Make sure you don't look at those hairs on the carpet because the urge to vacuum might overcome your effort to meditate. Try to detect at least five nuances about your pet, not your lack of cleanliness, that you didn't see before.


Next, narrow your focus even more. Can you see how the light reflects off your pet's wet nose? Do you see varying shades of pink on the pads of your cat's feet? Continue to deepen your awareness of your pet as you concentrate on the many subtleties you once overlooked.


If you have come this far in the meditation, don't pat yourself on the back; there likely isn't much else to do right now. However, the most challenging part of any meditation is getting beyond the initial struggle to quiet the mind long enough to reap the benefits. The hardest part of this meditation is admitting that you just spent twenty minutes staring like a creeper at your dog. It's easy to quit because our minds, like the terrier, struggle to be still. It's even easier to stop because, well, you think you should be doing something more productive. All guilt aside, I'm guessing you feel Zen as f*ck now. Having a place to channel your terrier-like mental energy is key. May you, your pet, and your quarantine laziness keep your mind clear even if your friends question your sanity. At least they will do so from six feet away.