Pets, and animals in general, have taught me many lessons over the years, but I'd say the overarching lesson they've taught me is Simplicity. They inspire me to get out of my head and all the stories up there about the past, the future, what I think people think, etc., and instead to come back to, and appreciate, the present moment. Animals can be put at ease, or even become elated, over the simplest things: a pat on the head, a good meal, a sunbeam. They carry such little emotional baggage, and so resiliently let it go with the simplest of support to do so (I think of the work of Cesar Millan /The Dog Whisperer, who demonstrates this over and over, even with dogs who'd come from very traumatic backgrounds).
I also think of one of my all-time favorite books, Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut. In Vonnegut's usual searing yet humorous style, he shows how much we can learn from the simplicity of our “less-evolved” animal relatives.
“The Peace of Wild Things,” the poem by Wendell Berry, also comes to mind.
So on that note, I'm off to grab a people-treat then curl up on the couch and practice some peaceful mindfulness (mindlessness?) meditation with my canine gurus.
— Laura L