Interpreting and misinterpreting Spiritual teachings


A veterinarian was called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. For the sake of privacy, we’ll call him Dr. Right in our story. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
Dr. Right examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. He told the family they couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As they made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told Dr. Right they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt that Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, Dr. Right felt the familiar catch in his throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that he wondered if Shane understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. They all sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.” Startled, they all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned them all. Dr. Right admitted that he’s never heard a more comforting explanation. “It has changed the way I try and live,” he said.
Shane said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued, ”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.” Yes. True story …”

Let us say that the above paragraph is a true story. Let us say that Shane became a “guru,” for his incredible wisdom at such an early age.

We create the setting of the story. Followers will do the rest.

In the original story, the following is the “add-on” moral teaching:

“Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like: When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy. Take naps. Stretch before rising. Run, romp, and play daily. Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree. When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you’re not. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.”

As we can see, the above add-on “sounds nice.” The hero is the dog. In the above “add-on” we have changed the original teaching of “dogs do not need to live longer because they already know those things which humans do not,” into a sentimental, mushy, doggy stuff; which will be accepted and liked by those who already have dogs and understand how a dog behaves.

Make your dog your spiritual teacher… and then “be fair” (another ready-made spiritual keyword) with your cat as well and let him teach you something. 🙂

The issue is the change in teachings to give it “mass acceptance.”

If I would strictly go by the words of Guru Shane, it may seem as if dogs are “better off “ than human beings just because they live shorter lives. Obviously this strict teaching by the words, will not be accepted by the masses but just for those who are in love with Guru Shane, no matter what he says.

On the other hand, in the experience of something similar, that is to see a pet “move on” into “Pet paradise,” we could understand about the different lengths of life of every being and how; the most valuable things about those who we cared in life, still remains with us even when they are gone. That is they became “teachers” by just being themselves.

The above may not be accepted by the “majority” for it is quite impersonal. There is no hero to worship. No emotional triggers to get us hooked into a “touching story.”

Nevertheless, the above goes beyond the words of Guru Shane and his realization with dogs; for we have made that “unlimited.” It is not just about dogs, but about beings. It is not only about their “relative” short life span; but about all lives and their importance in our own life.

There may be many other teachings in this, but the important thing to realize from my perspective; is that we need to experience something to be able to understand the words which are used to point something spiritual to us.

As mentioned in many articles, if we merely go by accepting words and looking up their meaning in a dictionary, we will be misunderstanding any spiritual teaching and making a dogma out of that.

If we try to “interpret” a spiritual teaching, we already are failing in getting the message. We cannot interpret but merely understand if there has been a previous experience in our life which triggers a sudden understanding of things OR if our consciousness is able to see the “Unlimited,” the whole rather than a part.

Spirituality is way beyond reciting slokas and verses or memorizing what the holy scripture or what “God said.”

Spirituality is understanding beyond the intellectual level. It is experience mostly and the rest: Awareness, awaken consciousness.

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