We’re so busy thinking our heads are full of stuff that gets in the way of connecting with animals and people on an emotional level. This busy mind syndrome can be like navigating a mine field for your dog if he wants to just connect with your feelings. Finding his way through the labyrinth of your thoughts about yesterday, today and tomorrow can be frustrating if your canine companion just wants to experience being with you. It isn’t that he doesn’t always know what you’re thinking and feeling, but tuning in on your thoughts about what to fix for dinner (unless it’s his dinner), when to do the laundry, work projects, or the leak under the sink are pretty much without substance for him.
So, here’s what I suggest: Dream with your dog. No, I’m not kidding. We all dream—day and night. Dreaming is a necessary part of living because our dreams allow us to shed the conventions and limitations that make up our conscious lives. Our dreams are fueled by imagination and emotions. What we really feel about everything is contained in our dreams. If you’re really interested in understanding what you’re all about as a human being dreams can provide a way for you to do that. But, this isn’t a crash course in my theories about dreams, but rather a suggestion about how to be with your dog in a very uncluttered way. If you haven’t stopped reading by now because you think I’m nuts, here’s how it works:
Before you fall asleep:
1. Tell yourself that you’re going to dream with your dog.
2. Tell yourself that you want to be with your dog on a purely emotional level.
3. Tell yourself that you’re going to feel what your dog feels and he’s going to feel what you feel.
4. Tell yourself that you’re going to enjoy the experience.
5. Tell yourself that thoughts aren’t welcome—only feelings are allowed.
6. Tell yourself that you’re going to just focus on just being.
Yeah, I know that’s a lot of instruction to give to yourself before you fall asleep, but it won’t take long—especially if you believe what you’re saying. You’re in charge of your dream experience so you have to make sure it’s what you want it to be. That’s why you talking to you is the only way it works.
After you’ve told yourself what you need to know, then go to a place in your mind that’s special to you and your dog. Just be there and wait for your dog to join you. He’ll come.
Once he’s there just be with him. No thoughts. No feelings. Just be. Don’t try to manage the experience. Even if you have a wonderful connection with your dog in your waking hours, you’ll notice that your dreaming connection is much more powerful. It’s pure, unadulterated feeling at its best.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it.
You can do this during the day too. Just sit quietly and tune out whatever’s going on around you.
I can sense that you have questions so I’ll respond to them:
1. No, you don’t have to be touching your dog when you dream with him. Feelings go way beyond the physical. However, I will say that your dream experience may be even more enjoyable if you’re curled up with your dog. There’s a sense of comfort in this kind of physical contact (for both you and the dog) that’s very nice—especially if your days are busy and you don’t find much time to touch your dog during the day.
2. For those of you who have a hard time remembering your dreams, don’t worry about it. The feelings generated by dreaming with your dog will stay with you (and him) so if you don’t remember what you dreamed when you wake up, it’s ok. It’s the experience that counts.
3. No, you don’t have to try to analyze your dreaming experience with your dog. If you did you’d be analyzing a subconscious experience with your conscious mind and that’s not always very successful. Or necessary. This kind of dreaming is just a way of connecting; you’re not trying to figure anything out.
4. Yes, your dog will know that you’re dreaming with him and he’ll welcome the emotional company. (The next day when you’re both awake you may even see him smiling at you in a different sort of way.)
5. What if it doesn’t work? Don’t be impatient if you try this and it doesn’t seem to work the first time. Letting go of conscious thoughts isn’t easy. Just keep at it.
Keep your eye on the prize: a lovely connection with your dog that might not be possible during your busy- head- full- of- stuff day. You both need this time together. Go for it!
P.S. A nice fringe benefit of dreaming with your dog—if you do It often enough—will be that you find yourself connecting more emotionally with your dog during the day too and the quality of your waking relationship will improve.