The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone: A Four-Legged Approach to Enlightenment by Michael J. Chase
For heartwarming and reflective stories about coping with life via how a dog lives, for an easy introduction to some key elements of Buddhism, for people who like dogs
Is “loving everyone” really possible, as the title of Michael J. Chase’s new book suggests? The answer may surprise you, as he chronicles his journey toward enlightenment, gaining insight from a very unlikely source—a four-legged guru named Mollie, who happens to be the most lovable yet mischievous dog in the world. In his attempt to understand her ability to unconditionally love all, Chase begins to see the world through his best friend’s eyes, especially during their morning walks. Mollie’s hilarious antics and maddening behavior ultimately lead to profound insights learned at the other end of the leash. Written with heart and sidesplitting humor, this one-of-a-kind true story of friendship and a divine albeit outrageous dog delivers on its promise to reveal a pathway toward enlightenment . . . and brings each of us one step closer to loving everyone.
I loved this one! I’ve been reading a lot of animal-based-Buddhism stuff (The Dalai Lama’s Cat for example) but this one is nonfiction which made it feel more believable and immediately relevant in some ways. This is an actual guy in these actual sitatuons and finding his own ways to deal with it.
A dog entered my life for the first time about a year ago, so some of the stories of general dog-ishness that he shares feel a lot more recognizable than they would have been for me before that. I think most people would be able to follow this though, assuming they have some passing familiarity with dogs and what they’re like in general. But if you’ve spent a lot of time with them, you’ll see a lot more familiarity here.
The format is generally allowing each chapter to find a theme through an anecdote around Michael and his dog Mollie, though that varies off sometimes. One that comes to mind immediately is that of him taking her on the same walk path every day until she suddenly refuses to continue home the same way, and forces him to take another path home. He realizes he’s locked himself into such a tight box and never thought to explore all the other beautiful and unique areas around him, just streets away. It expanded from there on being open-minded and curious, which quite resonates with me.
Michael is also pretty fair about admitting his own bad tendencies and such. Getting easily frustrated, or having this one person whom he just cannot stand, or judging others based on the way they look — he confronts all of those and more through seeing the way his dog approaches the same situations with a totally different attitude. And most often, Mollie the Doggie had a much happier attitude, and who wouldn’t prefer to be happy?
This book made me happy and it taught me things and it helped me reflect on myself and who I want to be (as well as how to get to that point a little more every day).
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