A Border collie with nothing to do, by Joy

Buddy is our wonderful 14-year-old border collie, who like all of them, is busy trying to herd all moving creatures. He can simultaneously keep an eye on both of us, our other dog, the mail carrier and any other passersby. We think it’s his way of feeling safe in the world. My partner does a funny imitation of a boss going down a list of responsibilities, running her finger down a make-believe piece of paper saying, “Buddy, humm, Buddy, let me see what you’re responsible for…Oh, here it is, Buddy…Nothin’!!” He wags and we laugh.

And lest we think it is just border collies who are overly responsible, there is an amazing piece in the August 27 Newsweek Beliefwatch column.
China is now forbidding monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. One of their ministries calls this “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.” My first reaction was this is a joke, it is so ridiculous. But having last week seen the film 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama, I realize how seriously the Chinese government is attempting to control something obviously out of its control.

This got me thinking that it probably isn’t just Buddy the Border collie and the Chinese government who have control issues. What do I think I have control over that is simply an illusion? How do I distract myself from existential fears, instead of confronting them? As Buddy and I do our morning walk, once again, I thank him for being such a good reminder of what is important to contemplate.

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