I won’t lie: I’m a dog person. You could say they’re my favorite kind of people. Not all dogs, however, are created equal.
Every morning I take a walk around my neighborhood. One of the houses I pass is a home daycare center, and sometimes there are kids outside playing. There are also two white dogs that live there. They’re the small poodly types—you know, curls here and there, and really yappy? As I walk by, they always run and jump along the wrought iron fence and bark at me. Every.step.of.the.way. They’re poor examples of neighborliness; one day, one of the kids imitated them and barked at me, too!
It’s been that way for a couple of years, so I’m used to it. I usually engage with them, tell them I’m no threat, that sort of thing. But they still let me have it—until recently, that is.
You see, a few months ago, I had the privilege of having a beagle as a houseguest. He’s a confident ten-year old, and he knows things—important things—like exercising his dominion over yapping nonsense. We spent ten days together, eating treats, and taking long walks, and he taught me a great lesson.
The first day we passed by the chaotic poodle house, he stopped to see what all the commotion was about. He and the poodles sniffed each other through the fence—typical dog greeting. Then my friend turned up his nose and away we went. We left those little yappers in our wake!
Every day after that, when we walked by the poodle house, my beagle friend and I did the same thing—heads up, eyes straight ahead, feeling the dominion over the yapping. I could almost hear him sending those dogs a message: “I’m not interested in you now or ever, because you have nothing to say that I want to hear, and I’m too busy moving forward to stop.”
In this case, it was dogs doing the yapping, but how many times have you heard that annoying blabbering in your thoughts? It goes something like this: “What if I get sick? What if I don’t have enough money? What if my marriage fails? What if…what if…what if?!” In the study of Christian Science, we call that mental nonsense “mortal mind.” It has a relentless way of sharing information with us that isn’t at all helpful. But mortal mind knows nothing of God, the divine Mind, and His completely unconditional love and perpetual care for all of us. It’s important to only listen to God because God is the only one who can (and does) give us correct information about ourselves. He tells us that we’re whole and safe and that He’s already taken care of everything in our lives. Actually, since there’s only one God, or Mind, this other nonsensical mind really has no voice, no right to speak.
Too soon, my beagle friend went home, and I was on my own with this lesson. But it worked for me, too, even when I walked alone. In fact, that’s also how I deal with mortal mind’s babbling now. Head up towards God, thought focused on what the one and only Mind is telling me, I move briskly forward. No hesitation, no engaging, no pausing to see what the yapping is about.
I know what I learned from the beagle is effective because the other day when I walked by the house, my curly little neighbors were sitting in a chair in the front yard. They didn’t even move. They looked at me, but didn’t say a word. Just like the poodly yapping, mortal mind’s valueless gabbing can be silenced, too. And the results are equally tangible. Less annoyance. Less worry. And even: healing.
Some helpful citations on this topic:
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy
I hope these insights will inspire readers to think more spiritually about themselves and the world around them!