3. Jake lives a balanced life. He makes time to play. He sleeps when he is tired and eats when he is hungry. No games, no martyrdom, just Jake doing what he needs to do. He seems to know what he wants at each moment and makes no excuses. He doesn’t ask permission, he just goes. In our relationships, we need to check in with one another, but the more we do things because we think we should, the more it ends up not helping anyone. The Zen masters teach us the “Art of Selfishness.” The theory is that if we do for ourselves, we can give the greatest gift of all to those around us: our happiness. Jake is a very happy guy.
4. Jake does not love unconditionally. What I give to him, he gives back but in spades. His return is double my output. He understands what I am doing and will go the distance in a heartbeat. At times I do get very busy and can’t give him the kind of attention that he would like. At those times he will fade away and become more distant, like he accepts my absence but is not going to carry on to the extent that he would if I was there for him. He is always ready to respond when I come around. All relationships require attention and effort toward being the kind of person who is worthy of being loved. If I was mean to Jake or yelled at him, he would avoid me. I would expect that. We are all like that. The more we love, the more we are loved.
It’s not hard to understand why some people become animal people. They have given up on humans as a source of affection and love. Spirituality is all about being in harmony with nature, and knowing that the animal and natural kingdom has a lot to teach us about love and the pace of things. We have lost touch with our natural way. We have become success-driven, media-oriented and overstimulated. We have forgotten the importance of human touch. We have become inured to the plight of others and think only of the bottom line. We tend to think in immediate terms rather than listening to our hearts while looking down the road toward our future. Jake reminds me that I am a living being and a part of nature, and that we are all in this life together. The sooner we understand that and start taking good care of ourselves and those we love, the better off we will be. It makes sense to open our hearts when we understand that the future of our planet depends on it.