It’s just too much. I don’t really understand how anyone could expect me to keep on under this burden. This is it; I’m done. My dog Allie, who has been with me for these past 12 years, ever since her gamboling days, when her favorite thing to do was to get up stealthily in the middle of the night and nip the edge of the toilet paper and trail it all around the house, constructing a pervy, inside-out Christmas tree. A Christmas tree with Halloween issues. All these years, doubtless she’s seen it coming. And now she’ll see it going. She’s going back to the Pound. Oh, no, don’t lets go to the dogs about this – I can hear the hue and outcry from here. Yes, I know I’m supposed to call it the shelter. But I’m old. I’ve always known it to be the ‘dog pound’. And that’s where she’s going.
With the cost of food today, can anyone blame me? I mean; her food costs over two dollars a pound. My food doesn’t cost that much, and my paycheck isn’t getting any bigger, thank you. And when you get right down to it, what has the past twelve years been but a endless loop of tail-wagging and eager leaping like a mountain goat from pinnacle to pinnacle of the wildly erratic life we’ve been subjected to? I can’t even keep my metaphors from getting mixed, so how can you expect me to care for a life; a singular, precious, irreplicable life? I can’t do it. It’s been twelve years, people. Can you really expect me to spend the rest of my days- all the soft, early summer days to come- watching a meadow of tall, green grass, stippled with wildflowers being plowed by that sprightly, freckled nose and lolling pink tongue like a Clipper Ship on course for an azure Aegean shore? Oh, no. I have my rights.
And when Allie’s gone, I think I’ll get me a pet who will never, ever, ever again subject me to that strained old routine where she puts her chin up on my knee after breakfast and her early morning walk, and gives me the Big Brown Eye Treatment, whilst sort of waggling her seated behind like an utter fool. Spare me that, at least. I want to choose whom and what I will consider desirable from now on. I don’t want love thrust upon me, thank you very much. I do have integrity, you know. Well, actually, if you really consider the point; I don’t. I’m really just a rag-doll, completely subject to my unquestioned desires and aversions. I see an ice-cream cone and think either “great! I love ice cream!” or “ooooh, no you don’t… that stuff is bad for me.” There is a teeny, tiny moment before I think one thing or the other, but unless I’m meditating, I don’t notice it. Mostly, I just think the things life deals out to me, from promotions to restraining orders, are good, bad, or some mix of the two. In the case of my dog and what she dishes out to me, the moment before deciding which it is (good), is so vanishingly small I really can’t detect it, and think that love is a power beyond even the inevitable. Maybe it is. In the case of subjects less flailing than love, though, even when you find yourself inexorably drawn to desire or abjure a thing, you can always change the way you react to that desire or aversion. And yes, this is a good thing that will help you. Pay attention.
Let me put it this way: all your life you’ve been wishing for stuff to happen to you, like for an A in Chemistry or to win a game, or to get into a college or for someone to get elected, or even for the weather to be nice on a certain day, right? And certainly you’ve hoped for Mr. or Ms. Right to appear, and you hoped that s/he would have a dog like Allie. When you don’t get what you wished for you’re bummed. You have a little dialogue in your head about why you didn’t get it, and how you should have. Perhaps you didn’t pray hard enough. Perhaps you should just be happy with whatever you got, since that’s what you got, and since you have a choice between being happy or bummed, you’d choose being happy, wouldn’t you? Just like I chose to take Allie back to the pound – I mean “shelter”. You absolutely can choose how you react to the stuff life dishes out to you, and when you get good at it, you’ll be half way to enlightenment, but I’m too lazy for that. I prefer to stack the deck so that I’ll get what I want. Its easy, actually.
All you have to do is pray harder. You can pray any way you want: the Christian way, the Muslim way, the Buddhist way or the Witchy way (my personal favorite) and even if you just wish really, really hard, with some serious concentration and belief, it works. Prayer, or whatever you call it, works. So forget the hard stuff about accepting and enjoying whatever life dishes out to you; pray instead. Its more like winning. Don’t forget that God answers all your prayers. Its just that sometimes the answer is “no”. Bummer. So its like winning, but not exactly. In any case, it isn’t just new-agers who believe in the power of positive thinking. Some of the most esteemed quantum physicists agree, pointing out that Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle tells us that at least on a sub-atomic scale, physical objects (particles) actually do not exist until they are observed. Its not that we just don’t know where a particle is, or whether or not it exists until we look at it – the particle actually “pops” in and out of existence depending on whether or not we look at it. Our looking makes it real.
The prayers made for sick people are just as real. Studies have shown that even when the pray-ee is unaware that anyone is praying for them, favorable medical outcomes occur statistically more often than for the un-prayed-for. Of course, if a believer knows that he’s being prayed for, the placebo effect causes the outcome to be even better. Meditators who concentrate on experiencing the unity of all beings actually decrease the neuronal activity in the parietal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for distinguishing between self and other. Their thoughts change the chemistry and blood flow in their brains. Reality, my friends, begins in thought, which is prayer, so think good thoughts. For me. Because I want to win. And for Allie. She’d like a steak bone. And num-nums on her tum-tum. Oh, good thoughts in general will do.