A week ago, my wife and I moved house. As our previous move happened ten years ago, I had forgotten just how stressful and labour-intensive moving house can be!
We got rid of a lot of stuff before we moved, and even more after the move once we realised we didn’t need it. The local charity shops have done well out of us over the past few weeks. Even so, trying to fit everything we own into a smaller house still took some doing.
If the move has been stressful for us, it has been even more stressful for our dogs, who of course have no understanding of what’s been going on. Our spaniel, Brith, has been particularly anxious. We’re doing our best to help him to get used to the new house, but it will take time before he is truly relaxed here.
What does this have to do with Buddhism? Well, as some Buddhist teachers would say, every part of life is an opportunity to practise the Dharma. In this case, my dog is unknowingly teaching me the importance of the responsibility I have to care for all beings, not just for myself.
It is also a timely reminder that I can learn from other sentient beings as well, not just from my own species.
One thing I like about the new house is that I now have a separate shrine room. Its a peaceful place where I can meditate, read, think and perform rituals. After the stress of the move, a peaceful place like that is just what I need!
EDIT: it turns out that Brith is not just anxious. We had to take him to the vet today to have surgery to remove a stone that was blocking his digestive system! He’s OK now, thankfully, and should be home in a day or two.