Being Present with Impermance

Post 76

Impermanence.  My dog Yogi has an incurable kidney disease.  The vet told me this the other day.  Now what?

Now the sand is shifting beneath my feet, but I am not swept to sea.

The ego wants to suffer and make stories of loss.  This loss, and all the others.  The ego, my false self, derives its identity from the concept of having and not having.  It needs certain people, places and things to be the way it wants them or it suffers. The ego is me– as an addict.  I am addicted to things being as I want them to be.  Since life is seldom as I want it to be,  my addictive self has plenty of opportunities to suffer.

Now is the time I want to run from the pain of losing Yogi.  If I had the money, I would numb the pain with shopping or travel or visits to doctors who would pay attention to my sudden and various ailments.  If I had a partner, I would numb it with my resentments of him not taking the pain away.  If I had success, I would seek more recognition–the applause will make me forget the loss.  Etcetera, etcetera…

Yogi may have 6 months or some more years to live, but he is dying.  As we all are, of course.  Nothing special is going on to oppress me in particular.

I spent the day with Yogi and on the phone with friends.  I lay down on the bed next to Yogi and  listened to a recording of a Ram Dass who, with much physical and mental effort,  answered an interviewer’s questions about his  stroke.   I listened with my hand on Yogi’s warm, smooth belly.  This is the sand shifting.  The water rolling over my feet, under my feet in an endless, but changing intensity.  Ram Dass said his “body had a stroke.”  Who he really is inside that body did not have a stroke.

Last night and the night before Yogi woke me twice in the middle of the night.  He has to pee–this is how it will be each night  for the foreseeable future for us–  I stumble down the stairs and onto the street with him.  This too.  This too is now. This too requires acceptance, not resistance.  This is now reality.  What of it?  This is simply sand shifting.

When ego is set aside during present moment awareness I see beyond my suffering.  I see Yogi’s patient acceptance of things as they are for him.  I practice emulating  his fully present, fully alive  example.

Yesterday  day I invited friends–whom  I had told about Yogi’s illness– to have a picnic dinner with me at the beach. The addict I am would like to spend more time suffering, but the real me chooses to live fully .  Dogs more than anyone sense and respond to depression and worry.  My depression and worry should not be Yogi’s problem.

The sky was overcast–it happens sometimes in Florida!– and we took some shelter behind a large rock, resting our backs against its heft.  We talked and laughed.  We toasted Yogi.  The sun came out for a while before it set and we watched it with pleasure.  Two dolphins rose and dropped behind the waves in the distance.  I became so filled with the beauty of the present moment, with the power of living awake and accepting of  to impermanence that I felt compelled to run down the beach.  I think that is what Yogi would do if he had been there.  The sand was wet and cool and solid under my feet.  And it was perfect.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennif3r
    Mar 30, 2012 @ 19:42:49

    Aww give Yogi a hug for me. :)

    This was beautifully written! Thank you for sharing. So true. Suffering is like an addiction for ego. Where the only way through is by allowing all to be how it is, even the addiciton and it will dissolve in that forgiveness. Feeling our depression and worry. Letting them guide us to the treasure within. Your presence and true Self shining right now will help Yogi during this time. Yogi is a beautiful friend and teacher. Big hugs for you too! :) This post reminds me that our loved ones are with us no matter what because we are all ONE. Even when the body passes, their Essence is still our Essence and to honor whatever human feelings come into Awareness because they are all teachers.

    Just to let you know, if you still want updates from my blog Freedom from Ashes. Please visit my site and subscribe again. My site is going through a metamorphosis this Spring and I changed hosting services. Which means you will not receive updates when I do posts until you sign up again. Thanks for bearing with me.

    Have a beautiful weekend. Love and inner healing energy to both you and Yogi. :)


  2. A Buddhist In The Rustbelt
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 12:48:29

    It pains me greatly to hear of Yogi’s condition. As the caretaker of three dogs, I understand the pain you are experiencing. Remember that you are doing a noble thing by looking after Yogi, and I am certain that Yogi appreciates that. My hope is for Yogi to have a good rebirth.

    Take care…..


  3. Baraness
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 19:18:05

    Yogi is a wonderful friend. What a beautifully expressed post. Such amazing strength and depth. Your self-awareness is astounding. I lost a friend this week to heart failure at 39. No one knew he was ill. He didn’t know. Died suddenly in his sleep. I’ve been trying to be present. To live. You have helped:)


  4. NatalieSCook
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 18:52:18

    Yogi is gorgeous! It always hurts when we find a loved one is suffering, or that we may lose that loved one.

    Someone once said, ‘Mourning is a selfish feeling.’ Or something like that. Be strong for Yogi, he loves and trusts you and that is truly wonderful!

    is there anyway you can train him to pee in a doggie litter tray or on some paper so he doesn’t have to bother too much with waking you?



  5. Nicole Miller
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 18:42:41

    Great post Professor P! Sorry to hear about Yogi. I just happened to find your blog and Twitter the other day. I miss your classes!


  6. John
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 18:32:29

    Sad to hear about our beautiful friends illness.


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