I have learnt a lot about mindfulness in the present moment from my dog Coco. Especially in his intense desire for freedom from his leash/lead.
I think I realised watching him attentively that for much of my life I have been on an invisible lead. Becoming mindful is taking the lead off, throwing off the shackles, breaking the chains.
Coco loves free running – he puts all of himself into it. He desires to be free and then inhabits all of his freedom to run. I think God enjoys seeing him run. But when I first got him I was afraid to let him off the lead. What if it wasn’t safe? What if he didn’t come back?
Of course it doesn’t always go to plan. Sometimes (often) he is aware of exactly where the fox scat is, and rolls in it ecstatically. It is a vile smelling perfume. Apparently his nose is 1,000 to 10,000 times more aware than our noses. He follows invisible trails of scent that we are completely unaware of.
Then, he is often very slow and methodical. I have to slow down as well. The present moment is a delight to him. The moment he finds the exact smell that he has been looking for – he is fully present to it – neither occupied by the past or worried about the future.