“Intense meditation” is an oxymoron, but I can’t think of a better way to describe what I did.
The Trust Technique uses a process of being in the present moment plus having mindful regard for the animal to teach it to be calm. Here’s how it works (or at least my understanding of how it works):
- Sit on the floor next to the animal.
- Bring yourself into the present moment.
- The animal will respond by either getting sleepy or walking away.
- If the animal walks away, bring it back.
- If the animal gets sleepy, stay in the present moment for up to 30 seconds. Then give the animal mindful regard, then go back into the present moment.
- As you dance between the present moment and mindful regard, the animal will move from standing or sitting to lying down.
- If the animal raises its head, give it mindful regard, then go back to the present moment.
- Eventually, the animal will get so sleepy it can’t keep its eyes open.
- Then, the animal will enter a REM state where they release tension.
Roxie and I get to step 6 regularly but hadn’t yet gotten to step 7.
The intense meditation happened when it was time for bed. I led her into her crate (in my bedroom) and crawled into bed.
Roxie wasn’t happy about being in a crate. This was new, something the trainer said I should be doing that I hadn’t been doing.
Roxie started to whine and yip, the precursor to the full-on bark. I went into the present moment. She stopped. If my mind started to drift, Roxie would start whining again.
At other times when I’ve practiced meditation, I’d notice at the end of the session that my mind had wandered off to somewhere else some time ago. I’d wished for a little alarm that would ring whenever my mind started to wander.
Roxie was that alarm.
That night, every time my mind started awfulizing, (What if I can’t get Roxie to stop barking at the neighbors? Or lunging at their dogs? What if we get evicted?), Roxie whined.
Her whine would snap me out of my awfulizing. I’d go back to mindful regard of Roxie as a sweet dog, and then back to the present moment of my body sinking into my bed, my breath moving in and out of my belly.
I probably cycled through a present moment / mindful regard dance for an hour before we both fell asleep.
Roxie never barked, only let out a yip or two.
Chewing the Cud of Good
Thankful for friends who encourage me.