spirit flows thru -- Alison Rittger's spiritual reflections on finding the holy in the daily
PictureRead it and don't weep, Foxie says.
 My one and only kept asking me the same question one morning. “What is the fundamental mistake that is the root of my suffering?” Though it could have been, her question was not directed at the results of having followed a recipe for tofu scramble she found on the web site, The Buddhist Chef. We agreed the scramble appeared wetter than expected and would require a great deal of pouring liquid into the sink before it could be eaten.  Later that morning as we stretched out on the couch, she with an ice pack strapped onto her lower back, and I a comfortable lump on her midsection and chest, she repeated the question about a fundamental mistake and suffering.
She had been reading “Lion’s Roar” and the words of French Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard, made her wonder where she had gone wrong. It was his observation that genuine happiness is possible only after we figure out the fundamental mistake that is the root of our suffering. My one and only seemed to take his words as a challenge to explore her own relationship to happiness. Which these days has not been tip top. She assures me I am not at the heart of her unhappiness.
Although dogness limits my perspective, I have not seen any fundamental mistakes my one and only is making. At least none that should interfere with happiness. Quite the opposite. Her love for me continues as strong as when she first saw me at Animal Control in San Francisco four years ago. She will get up at 3 or any am and take me outside when needed. She slips a jacket over her nightie without complaining, steps into shoes at the front door kept there just in case. She will brush me if I leap around and want attention for something other than food. We even have three different brushes with stiff, stiffer and soft bristles. She walks me on the El Moro trail in either direction and sometimes we go up hills for a long distance or around several blocks. This we do at least four times a day. A real treat is the tour we make of the Ralph’s parking lot where I can go into brush and leaves or back up to a tree if need be. She pays attention to me whenever I want it; doesn’t yell or swear if an accident happens on one of her many rugs. I can’t imagine what else is troubling her, what other part of her life can be more important than the life we share, but for my part, I have no complaints about my one and only and can see no mistakes, fundamental or otherwise.
If I could be of any help to her other than just being this spectacular reddish brown creature and loving her, I would urge her to take to heart the words printed in blue on the dish towel that sometimes hangs near the sink in our kitchen: “Be the person your dog thinks you are!” I would want her to know that she is the person I think she is, and can't that be enough?  

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