Throughout all of the madness currently enveloping the world, I find true peace when I am with my animals (my dog, and my horse). They keep things simple- there is no where we have to be, nothing we necessarily have to accomplish, other than the daily tasks of life. We all need
daily exercise- mental and physical. When I am working my dog or my horse we are really working on keeping our communication clear, so that every now and then we get that perfect glimpse of perfect flow. Where it feels like we are communicating smoothly, and in perfect timing, our hearts and thoughts moving as one. That is the real beauty of working with an animal. When you can feel that rooted connection to a deeper rhythm of the universe, where time stops and everything flows- you become a true team.
This flow comes from a connection of true presence. Every fiber of your being is connected to the moment at hand- there are no other pressing matters, worries about your past or future, there is only Now and it's visceral beating presence.
Eckhart Tolle and his book "the Power of Now" were huge influences in my life, and there is a passage in his book where he talks about "how we must honor the present moment, and how every future moment comes as this moment." When you really get to the depth of this statement, it is truly life altering! It is something that animals help me reconnect to on a daily basis.
You can rush training with your dog, and still have a golden future goal in mind. But, if you do not honor the moment to moment steps necessary to reach your goal, your goal will become rushed, imperfect, and far from what you had imagined. Your treatment of the present moment will always dictate your future moment. Whatever you are experiencing now, you will get more of. If you want whole and beautiful results, you need to treat each moment toward that goal like gold! You can honor each moment with your full presence and give it everything you have, and as a result you will get everything you wanted. Of course, this works in the opposite way as well.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, or stressed I try to remember to say to myself, "honor this moment" and it brings me real clarity- because it helps me realize when I am straying from the present. Once you become aware of feeling stressed, you realize you don't have to feel stressed or rushed unless you choose to feel that way, and that really the only reason you feel that way is because you are not in the moment- and certainly not honoring the moment. You also don't have to compare yourself to others and therefore rush through your journey to your goal, only to find that you missed your goal because you were not honoring the moments along the way with your full attention.
The Now is the most sacred moment we have, and I think this is something every animal intuitively understands. As human beings it is something we are all born understanding until we are taught to make other things more important. Our ego starts to be fed, we focus on the wrong things, and the struggle becomes real. Luckily, being truly present is something we are all born with. That peace and stillness of the moment is always within us- waiting still and calm as the glassy surface of the lake in summer. It patiently awaits our attention, and if we keep our focus on it, there is no knowing what we can accomplish!