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If you want to learn the Art of Living just observe the way animals live and react to situations.
For me, my pet Doberman girl Sherry is my best teacher on the Art of Living.
Sherry is Doberman X – the “X” factor (father) is probably a Caravan or Mudhol Hound as her mother is a pure Doberman.
Sherry behaves spontaneously, joyfully, based on her inner instinct.
She plays, she barks, she chases, she eats and she sleeps in accordance with her natural instinct.
Sherry doesn’t need to go to gym [for physical fitness] or a therapist [for mental fitness].
Sherry is not a Goal Oriented person.
She is an Inner Resource Oriented person – in short, a Source Oriented person.
Conventional wisdom teaches us to become goal-oriented.
From childhood there are goals set for us to achieve, and when we achieve one goal there is always another goal waiting for us – it is an endless pursuit, a chase which never culminates.
We are taught that a goal oriented person is a person who always succeeds in life.
But is there a final destination of success...?
Do you ever reach your final goal...?
Goals are always outside you, goals are in the future, goals are far away from you.
Your goals are not in your control.
If you design your lifestyle in such a way that your happiness depends on things outside you, things in the future and not in your control, then you may find happiness elusive and you may never be truly content and happy.
If you are too result-oriented – you’ll always be chasing horizons.
Remember, if you run after something it runs away from you, and, conversely, if you run away from something it runs after you – so stop running and live a more Source-Oriented life.
Look inwards, discover and harness your inner resources, act instinctively and you will realize your full creative potential.
Like my pet Sherry, you will live spontaneously, unpredictably, act on the spur of the moment and experience the joy of the glorious uncertainties of life rather than get frustrated by them.
You will live a more stress free life too.
Have you seen wild animals suffering from stress...?
Maybe some domesticated pet animals are stressed-out because we humans put stress on them by imposing our “goals” and demands on the poor hapless pets...!
We have become so preoccupied with achieving success that our lives are always heading towards something in the future.
In the process, we lose touch with the aliveness and delight of the present. Sherry does not worry about the future, about achieving future goals, but live in the present.
Sherry does not live in the past either.
She is very forgiving – even if I scold her, which I never need to do, she is back to her cheerful self in a jiffy and doesn’t hold any grudges either.
Anger is a reality.
It happens inside us.
Goal Oriented behaviour may result in us suppressing our anger creating stress within us.
Sherry - ALL EYES AND EARS
Here is a lesson I got one morning from Sherry in Anger Management by Source Oriented Living.
Our spacious bungalow, located high up on a hill slope, affords a beautiful panoramic view of the verdant wide green expanse of Girinagar all around.
This morning while we strolled on our lawn sipping rejuvenating cups of piping hot amruttulya tea in the lovely mist and slight drizzle, I noticed Sherry standing alert at the bungalow gate looking intently, focussing on something outside, and gradually getting angry, as evident from her focussed eyes, slow growls, heightened breathing, stiff upright tail and vivid line of hair standing taut on the centre of her neck and back, hackles raised.
I walked towards the gate and looked outside – the object of her attention was a huge white cat that was walking nonchalantly towards the gate, almost defiantly.
The moment the cat came close, Sherry suddenly lost her temper, started barking, violently jumping, infuriated with anger, desperately pleading with me to open the gate.
The cat stopped dead in her tracks and crouched, and I knew that if I let Sherry out, she would desperately, frenziedly chase the cat down the hill, and if she caught the cat, there would ensue a violent fight to the finish, and most likely it would be the cat who would be finished.
So I just walked away and Sherry realized that I wasn’t going to open the gate, went so wild with rage, that she ran amok, running wildly all round the spacious compound, taking high speed runs, jumping over hedges, barking, chasing, leaping at birds, running fast at top speed round and round the bungalow, till she was totally exhausted, after which she went to her water bowl, lapped up cold soothing water, and lay down on her rug in a cosy manner, calm, tranquil, totally relaxed, her anger totally dissipated and dissolved into peaceful serenity.
That’s what one must do when angry, isn’t it...?
Let me tell you it works - the moment you sense anger rising within you start exercising, run, jog, take a brisk walk, dance, move your limbs, sway, do something.
Spontaneously do some physical activity till your anger dissipates and exhausts itself into a state of calm.
So, Dear Reader, the next time you start getting angry, do what Sherry does – just start running till your anger disappears and you collapse into a cosy state of peaceful calm and tranquillity. And if you can't run, at least take a brisk walk...just see how physical activity dissipates anger...
There is a lot to learn about the “Art of Living” from our animal friends, isn’t it...?
So just behave naturally, spontaneously, doing you’re your inner voice and instinct tells you, observe fauna and flora around you, and most importantly, get a pet dog and make him or her your friend, philosopher and guide.
I’ll end with a quote on dogs from Sigmund Freud:
Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate in their object-relations.
SHERRY with her DAD
So here is a Bow Wow to you from Sherry and she wishes that may you live a happy stress-free dog-like source-oriented life...!
VIKRAM KARVEeducated at Indian Institute of Technology IIT Delhi, ITBHU, Lawrence School Lovedale, and Bishop's School Pune, is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, a Human Resource Manager and Trainer by occupation, a Teacher by vocation, a Creative Writer by inclination and a Foodie by passion. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. His delicious foodie blogs have been compiled in a book "Appetite for a Stroll". Vikram lives in Pune with his family and pet Doberman girl Sherry, with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.