A Zen master and his disciples went to bathe in a river. After bathing, the master came out and all his disciples gathered around him as he walked.

A disciple asked him, “Dear Master, what should I do to realize?”

The master said, “Learn from that dog,” referring to a dog that was nearby and kept walking.

The disciple was greatly disappointed and angry within himself that the master had ignored his question. Then he asked, “Oh, Master, what can I learn from a dog?”

The master walked on for some time without saying anything.

The disciple persisted, “I don’t want to learn from that dog, please tell me, Master.”

The master then pointed to another dog that was playing in the next street and said, “Then learn from this dog.”You are making fun of me, Master. What can I learn from a dog? All it does is eat, sleep and reproduce. I have come in search of you only to become free from that.”

“You also eat and sleep,” said the master and walked into his hut.

The disciple stood frozen in shock. 

Sadhguru explains this story : What does an average man do today? He eats, but it cannot be considered as eating. He sleeps, but that cannot be considered as sleeping. Why? When he eats, he is not fully involved in it. Even if he is eating something delicious, he notices the taste only for the first mouthful. Then his mind keeps wandering elsewhere even as the food passes from his mouth down his throat and reaches the stomach. If you cannot become one with even a morsel of food, how can you become one with the entire universe? A small part of this planet is entering you and becoming you, what can be more miraculous?

Another miracle is sleep. When you are in deep asleep, who you are is absent and you become one with this existence. What is actually happening when you sleep? Most people do not experience deep sleep. A million things are happening in your head. When you eat, you are thinking about home, when you are at home you are thinking about work, when you are at work you are thinking about travel, when you are travelling you are thinking about when you can sleep, when you go to sleep you are thinking about something else. Your whole life rolls on like this.

If you have to realize your life to the fullest, you need to do whatever you are doing with hundred percent involvement and offer yourself totally to it. Because you are always caught up with your thought process, only your thoughts and emotions have become life for you. Emotions like anger, joy and fulfillment are created by your mind. You have become insensitive to the true sensations of your being.

So to learn from a dog means that when you eat something, be fully involved with every morsel that goes into your mouth, enjoy it totally, and notice what happens as this morsel becomes a part of you. Eat totally! When you sleep, leave behind the idea that you are carrying the entire world on your shoulders, keep everything aside and sleep totally!

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Divya Pai

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