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Excerpts - The Dog and the Water Story

Excerpt from Life is the Teacher, Side 6
(notations in brackets have been added for clarification )

I heard a story about a dog. A great man was asked who his teacher was and he said it was a dog. They asked him how such a thing could be that a dog became a teacher of this very great, enlightened being.

The great man said that one day he was sitting down by a stream and a dog came running by that was obviously very hot and thirsty. The dog ran up to the water, but stopped dead in his tracks. He saw a very vicious-looking dog looking back at him from the water. The dog in the water was foaming at the mouth because it was so hot. The dog saw his reflection, and became very frightened of this vicious-looking dog in the water and backed off.

The dog ran up and down the stream continually going to the edge of the water, but it seemed that the vicious dog was everywhere he went. The vicious dog was always staring at him from out of the water. He was totally frightened to go near the water.

The day got hotter and the dog got more and more thirsty. He finally, in spite of all his fears, leaped into the water; and, of course, the vicious-looking dog disappeared because the dog was only seeing his reflection.

Now that basically is what Life teaches us-that we have all these fears of doing something different; but we're only looking at a reflection of our own imagination.

We imagine ourselves being in a pitiful condition, being sick, old age-all these things. We paint those pictures with the greatest of ease. We also believe every bit of the conjured up false pictures in our heads-like the dog believed the horrible-looking reflection was a real dog. He didn't know what he looked like.

So, if we could kind of learn just a little bit from this story, Life is here as a teacher. As I said, the only thing you or I can do is to, kind of, point out to somebody where the teacher is, and how to read the teacher. You read the teacher by asking, What's going on here, and it will always answer you very nicely.

When you see people that "we are taught to think of as unfortunate and miserable", you can ask the question, What's going on here? not "Why did that happen to that person?" When you ask What's going on? and you have a little patience, you will generally see, very quickly, What's going On? You will see things like an ideal being held up as a comparison to what they think "ought to be". You'll see that the person is very frustrated because they're in such a horrible shape because What is doesn't fit the "ideal". Now what is might be more wonderful than any of the "ideals" of "what ought to be" that we can dream up. But how many people do you see being miserable because they have conceived a "what ought to be" or "what should be". They are comparing it to what is which may be a hundred times greater, but it's not the same as their conceived ideal. Therefore, they see what is as being very bad, horrible, unfair and inferior.

We can begin to see, "I have a teacher." Everyone of us has that teacher with us 24 hours a day-even when you're asleep. If you ask the proper questions of it, it always responds and teaches you. Life, it's always around; and it always teaches--it has the perfect answer for you if you put forth the proper questions. There is four questions that you can ask.

What am I?
Where am I?
What's going on here? And
What can I do?

[for a more detailed description see: Self Remembering on the web page under "Exercises".]

[I, too, didn't think it was possible to learn from an animal. I had a canary one time. My voice teacher told me to take a lesson from the canary. I was very doubtful that such was possible, but I was open to it.

Then one day I returned home from a musical job in which the audience totally ignored me. It was a family reunion and they were all just glad to see each other so they were engrossed in themselves. I didn't see or understand that aspect of entertaining until later when my teacher explained what goes on with certain types of jobs.

After the job, I drove home to my apartment. As I was pulling into my parking spot, I saw the beautiful canary through the window. He was just singing away to his heart's content. I suddenly realized that he didn't have an audience--didn't need an audience, and was perfectly content to sing just for the joy of singing.

And to this day, when audiences seem disinterested in what I'm doing, I usually remember that I can still enjoy the moment, the music, the opportunity, the income, and the talents I was given to perform. ……Marsha]