Sometimes -- well, more often than that -- I wonder whether our dogs are considerably more enlightened than I am.
After all, I never catch them wondering whether they're doing, thinking, or feeling the right thing. But I question myself a lot. Our dogs don't. Whatever they're up to, they seem to experience it unhesitatingly.
Even if that "it" is hesitating before an open door, wondering whether they should go out on an upstairs deck on a cold, rainy night. They don't worry about indecision; they just stand there, thoroughly indecisive.
Like I said in my previous post, I'm a big fan of Alan Watts.
Especially one of his first books, "The Wisdom of Insecurity." I've read the book several times. Now I'm re-re-reading it, enjoying one short chapter a day during my morning meditation/meditative time.
Here's what Watts has to say about our peculiarly human ability to divide ourselves into two, which is the source of most of our psychological troubles. This is from The Great Stream chapter, which I read today.
We seem to be like flies caught in honey. Because life is sweet we do not want to give it up, and yet the more we become involved in it, the more we are trapped, limited, and frustrated. We love it and hate it at the same time. We fall in love with people and possessions only to be tortured by anxiety for them.
The conflict is not only between ourselves and the surrounding universe; it is between ourselves and ourselves. For intractable nature is both around and within us. The exasperating "life" which is at once lovable and perishable, a blessing and a curse, is also the life of our own bodies.
It is as if we were divided into two parts. On the one hand there is the conscious "I," at once intrigued and baffled, the creature who is caught in the trap. On the other hand there is "me," and "me" is a part of nature --- the wayward flesh with all its concurrently beautiful and frustrating limitations.
"I" fancies itself as a reasonable fellow, and is forever criticizing "me" for its perversity -- for having passions which get "I" into trouble, for being so easily subject to painful and irritating diseases, for having organs that wear out, and for having appetites which can never be satisfied -- so designed that if you try to allay them finally and fully in one big "bust," you get sick.
...Is it not, then, a strange inconsistency and an unnatural paradox that "I" resists change in "me" and in the surrounding universe?
...In thinking of ourselves as divided into "I" and "me," we easily forget that consciousness also lives because it is moving. It is as much a part and product of the stream of change as the body and the whole natural world.
If you look at it carefully, you will see that consciousness -- the thing you call "I" -- is really a stream of experiences, of sensations, thoughts, and feelings in constant motion. But because these experiences include memories, we have the impression that "I" is something solid and still, like a tablet upon which life is writing a record.
...The difference between "I" and "me" is largely an illusion of memory. In truth, "I" is of the same nature as "me." It is part of our whole being, just as the head is part of the body. But if this is not realized, "I" and "me," the head and the body, will feel at odds with each other.
"I," not understanding that it too is part of the stream of change, will try to make sense of the world and experience by attempting to fix it.
...Conscious thinking has gone ahead and created its own world, and, when this is found to conflict with the real world, we have the sense of a profound discord between "I," the conscious thinker, and nature.
...Almost every spiritual tradition recognizes that a point comes when two things must happen: man must surrender his separate feeling "I," and must face the fact that he cannot know, that is, define the ultimate.