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The Snarling Dog

by Phil Levesque

In my early twenties, I lived in a suburban neighborhood. I walked to and from my job past a yard with a barking, snarling dog that scared me. I’d often anticipate walking past and probably imagined it snarling and barking.

One day I “heard” a quiet, whispering voice say “Imagine you are petting the dog’s belly.”

What??? Part of me wanted to just ignore such an odd notion, but I had been involved with my spiritual path, Eckankar, for a few years at the time. I knew to pay attention to that quiet voice, that of my spiritual teacher, known as the Mahanta.

I did imagine myself petting the dog’s belly as I approached the yard. I realized later that I had to be in a different state to pet the dog. I had to be loving, not afraid. As I imagined this scene, I was feeling loving. I got closer to the yard and heard nothing.

The dog looked at me curiously, but didn’t bark. Not a single snarl.

We had a new relationship and I had a new very cherished tool.

It occurred to me that when I was afraid my body broadcasted chemicals that the dog could smell and determine that I was an unstable threat to him. The second I put out loving smells instead, I was no longer a threat.

I have come to recognize the creative imagination as a very important and highly spiritual gift from God. Harold Klemp, the spiritual leader of Eckankar calls it “God in expression” and said “As Soul- a divine spark of God- you are the eternal dreamer. You are the creator of your worlds.”

I do believe that to be true. We imagine a thing or a scenario, and our mind begins to gather whatever it needs to bring that thing into existence. If we hold that image well, we may have a greater chance of manifesting our goals.

Very often, though we get distracted by a myriad of other choices. We may entertain doubts and fears or worry. I see worry as the negative use of the creative imagination.

If you plant a seed in a garden and let sprout, and then dig it up and plant it somewhere else, and then again and again. That poor little sprout won’t have a great chance of survival. Just like many of our goals. We do get distracted.

Some enjoy spiritual practice of slowing down and taking stock - “Where am I going in life?” And, “What do I want out of life?” “What is important?”

I’m learning to live in gratitude for the simple gifts. When I feel gratitude I am more likely to recognize the abundance of gifts in my life.

It only took a few seconds for my transformation from being scared of the dog to loving the dog.

So, as often as I can remember, I take deliberate control of my creative imagination. It’s a good life.

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