In July 2011, we experienced the hottest temperatures in recorded Canadian history! If you ever wondered what 40 degree temperatures feel like, you now know! During the July heat wave I noticed the city I live in (Toronto) was much quieter and even cottage country had a hush about it. Rather than rushing around “chasing our tails” so to speak, we collectively stayed indoors or rested in the shade and generally did less and less as the temperature went up; a perfect invitation for stillness, reading, reflection and perhaps even meditation.
Since my July 12th post In Communion with Nature, I have been reading a book called Wherever you Go There you Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The author suggests that meditation wakes us up from the dream state of everyday living into a state of wakefulness and present moment awareness. He states that waking up or “mindfulness” leads among other things to the wisdom of seeing the interconnectedness of things.
Among other things I have been pondering, I wondered why we call hot summer days “dog days.” According to my quick search on Wikipedia, “dog days are the hottest, most sultry days of summer.” That fits! Dog days can also refer to a time or event that is very hot or stagnant, marked by lack of progress. Could that be the global economy? That fits! The term is also used to describe the stock market in the summer; a slow time perhaps because everyone is on holidays? Not to mention that poor performing stocks are often called “dogs.” I guess that fits? In Roman times Sirius was called the “Dog Star” because it was thought to cause hot weather due to its close proximity to the sun. Ah, now we’re getting closer to the source ….
Yes it has been a glorious, warm, sunny summer so far and Canadians are soaking up and enjoying the pleasures of the lazy days of summer. Our loonie is strong and it is a good time to travel. But with droughts, famines, tornadoes, sand storms and flooding occurring around the world it does make one wonder if the effects of global warming are catching up with us. And our future economic health is uncertain due to the impact of global debt: two serious concerns to contemplate on a perfect, sunny, summer day. So, I turned to my book by Jon Kabat-Zinn for some inspiration. He states:
When it comes right down to it, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that’s what you’ve wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking right now, that’s what’s on your mind. Whatever has happened to you, it has already happened. The important question is how are you going to handle it?
So with those thoughts in mind I share this prayer of hope, resilience and compassion with you from Living Wisdom with His Holiness the Dalai Lama by Dudjom Rinpoche.
“At this very moment, for the people and nations of this earth
May not even the names diseased, famine, war and suffering be heard.
But rather may pure conduct, merit, wealth, and prosperity increase,
And may supreme good fortune and well-being always arise”.
As the “dog days of summer” pass us by, I watch as my dog Jessie leaps from the dock into the lake with great gusto in pursuit of her Frisbee. And I get to accompany her on long walks through forests and streams. The look on her face is the closest expression of pure joy that I have witnessed this summer! And I get to share in that too!
Angela and Jessie