July 26, 2020

The 4 Aspects of Free Mind

A free mind is unencumbered by the gruesome fear of punishment or the compelling need for reward; it is relaxed and open, clear and strong. It does not become agitated when something unfamiliar or unknown arises.

A mind motivated by the fear of punishment or the need for reward is not free. Rather, it is constantly moving towards or away from something that is beyond its control. It cannot settle into itself and find peace, constantly held hostage by the circumstances of the moment.

Shamanic dog training teaches the importance of nurturing a free mind in our dogs, helping us see that our actions towards them determine whether they are open and relaxed or tense and seeking. Because of us, they can be strong and peaceful or unsettled and edgy, breathlessly anticipating the reward or anxious of the correction that may come next.

There are 4 aspects of relationship that we can adopt in order to foster a free mind in our dogs: 

1. Choice – we can give our dogs choice. When we allow dogs to choose their action and response, they develop clarity of thought and peace of mind. Always available for loving and kind support if needed. 

2. Time – we can give our dogs time to make choices. When we allow dogs time to consider options, process emotion and settle on a plan of action, they become adept at working through problems and opportunities with mindfulness and composure. Always, we are here to help whenever needed. 

3. Trust – we can trust our dogs to make choices. When we trust our dogs to make choices, they become more confident and sure of their abilities and intelligence, developing skills for thinking through ideas, information and emotion and building problem solving tools and life skills that make life with humans easier and simpler. 

4. Co-operation – we can create an open flow of co-operation between our dogs and ourselves. Replacing control with co-operation, we help our dogs become more responsible and responsive when they are allowed to participate consciously in their daily lives. 

The 4 aspects of free mind teach us how to offer choice, time, and trust – building co-operation instead of control. 

Choice, time, trust and co-operation –nurturing and fostering the free mind of our dogs is something we do to express ayni (right relationship), munay (unconditional love) and killary (fluidity) towards our dogs. We must be ever mindful of the innate control and domination we carry in the dog-human relationship, and yield it with mindfulness, kindness and love. 

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