Saturday, June 25, 2016
Some time ago, a Far Side cartoon showed a dog praying at bedtime. He prayed that he and his dog family would be able to see colour. I found the cartoon funny on many levels.
And then I wondered, if the prevailing theory is true that dogs only see in black and white, how could Rover even know that there is anything beyond black and white – that colour exists? How could he find out? He couldn’t just ask the dog down the street. Could he?
And then I wondered how much is out there that we do not know – that we can’t know because our world view is limited to the karma we have brought into this life. For example, being human, I can’t know what it’s like to think like a dog. I can empathize. I can guess. I can speculate. I can observe. But I’m not a dog, so I can’t really fully “get” how Rover thinks.
We can get glimpses of the unknown. In meditation, we sometimes rise above our limitations long enough to feel/know something different. But even then, unless we have some sort of framework to put a new experience in, we may dismiss it as unimportant or dismiss it as unreal.
To avoid that, maybe we could have a “don’t know” category where we could mentally place the information. With no need to rush into an opinion about the experience, we store it as potentially relevant. We don’t have to do anything about it right away or make any decisions. It can wait. Rather than deciding, we wonder. Rather than settling on an opinion, we stay curious.
We may never find the answers to our questions, but that’s a good thing. Wisdom is flexible. And joy rises out of the mysterious.
One day I may find out if dogs see in colour or black and white. And I may not. Much of dogness is a mystery to me. But I wonder, could Rover could really ask the dog down the street about seeing in colour? Is such a thing possible?
I don’t know.
First published August 2007 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.