I was at the bookstore the other day and as I was perusing through the magazine section, I noticed a magazine that had the lead story titled, “What Is In Your Dog’s Mind.” I found that interesting so I picked it up and read a bit, chuckled and put it down. I then noticed that there were five magazines on the shelf that had a lead story that referred to what was in a dog’s mind or what a dog thinks. These magazines ranged from pet magazines to Time magazine. I was amazed. Each one of them had scientific studies that explained what is going on in a dog’s mind.
So, to save you some time, money and confusion, I will tell you what is going on in your dog’s mind; I don’t know. At least I will admit it. Brain scans won’t tell you. EEGs won’t tell you. Not even testing and reactivity will tell you. We can’t know because we are humans and we can only know what human minds are doing. Anything else is nothing more than a story or an imagination, whether there is science involved or not.
Let’s use a metaphor, one that most of us can relate to. If I were to ask you what God is like, you might answer, a man (or woman) sitting on a white cloud, pale complexion with a long white beard. If I were to ask a person in Africa to describe what God is like, she will likely tell you that God is a black person with kinky black hair and a long beard. In India, she might say that God is a man with jet black hair, dark skin and a long beard. The point is that no one knows and any ideas are certainly relative to conditioned thoughts and perceptions. We can’t know anything without having experienced it. All else is imagination and has no reality.
If a scientist wants to know how the mind of a dog works and does his scientific research, he is using his imagination and trying to prove it with his research. His results will reflect his beliefs because his personal mind is creating his own reality. This is why science is so often contradictory. The end result is always based on the scientist’s perceptions. This is one of the laws of the universe.
If you think that we people are aware of what is going on in our dog’s mind, try knowing what is going on in your spouse’s mind. Yep, it is not going to happen. At least we have a closely related idea as to what is going on in another human’s mind, but closely related is as close to reality as it gets.
All beings have a personal mind. This includes humans, dogs, cats, cows, trees, rocks. Everything. What? A tree has a mind. It certainly does. The only difference between a human’s personal mind and a tree’s personal mind is how much it differs from original source consciousness. All personal minds, whether
a tree, a human or a dog, are consciousness that has been altered, and the more that it has been altered, the more the personal mind has become aware of itself. A tree has a mind, but not a brain. It does not need a brain because its consciousness has little awareness of itself. It is aware of its interconnection of everything else in its reality. This is why it moves with the wind, follows the sun and converts your carbon dioxide into oxygen for you to breathe. It knows itself in its awareness of this interconnectedness. Even though it doesn’t have a brain or nervous system, it starts as a seed, manifests into a sapling and grows into a mighty tree, functioning in its fullness. This is all done by a vital essence that lives in all of us. It does not believe that it is separate from other objects. Why, because it doesn’t believe.
A person, however, has a human personal mind that has its own type of consciousness. Because a human has a brain and there has been an evolutionary process in its development, the human is the only being that has an awareness of itself. The human is aware of what it is doing, thinking and feeling. And, it is aware that it is aware. This is called self-consciousness; the ultimate critic. You know that little monkey mind that is chattering in your head most of the time. That is your self-consciousness interpreting your activities and giving you advice. No other animal, plant of mineral has the ability to do this. Believe me, it thinks it knows just about everything, including what is going on in your dog’s mind. Unfortunately, it is only a story that it has created and in reality, has no idea of the truth. It can’t and it never will.
If this is true, which it is, then how can we even get an idea as to what is going on in our dog’s (or cat’s) mind? We can only imagine this by understanding how consciousness works. Like I mentioned, humans are the only being that has a self-consciousness. This means that there is belief that there is a me. This is the nature of a person. Who are you? I am me. However, if you look at this closely, then, “I am me” is contradictory because it assumes that I and me are separate. This is the perception of the personal self, self-conscious or me.
When there is a sense of a me, then we take everything personally. You hurt my feelings. I shouldn’t have to go to work. I should be making more money. I should be happier than I am. I am so depressed. This happens because the monkey mind is making every moment a personal experience and causing you to react to it. In reality, there is no me as this is just an idea created by the monkey mind (ego-mind, thinking mind) and when person focuses on the critical, monkey mind, it loses its reality of the present moment. This is what many teachers call living life asleep. As we are caught up in our busy mind, thinking about the mistakes it made in the past and how to avoid having a fearful future, we are being robbed of the only reality that is real, the present moment.
Our dogs and cats, however, because they don’t have the evolutionary-evolved forebrain, do not have a self-consciousness. They don’t have a busy mind taking them from past memories to an imaginary future, so the live completely in the present moment. Moment to moment, experience to experience. Yes, they think, they have emotions, intuition, instincts and experiences, but they don’t take them personally.
Since our pets don’t have a personal mind that judges each moment (conditioned belief), they are free to live completely in the moment, accept the moment without condition and live life authentically and completely. This is how they can love you unconditionally. They live every moment unconditionally. We could say that they are awakened beings.
The next time you go out for a walk, with your dog or cat, take a look at everything that you see. Be aware that they all have a personal mind with its own expression of consciousness; the same consciousness that created you. If you do, you will begin to sense the connection that you have with all things, you will smile and say, Namaste. You will be awake and perhaps you will have an idea as to what is in your dog’s mind.