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When a Dog Runs Up (by Hafiz)

Start seeing everything as God, but keep
it a secret.

Become like the man and woman who are
awestruck and nourished

listening to a golden nightingale sing
in a beautiful foreign language while God,
invisible to most, nests upon its tongue.

Hafiz, who can tell in this world that
when a dog runs up to you wagging its
ecstatic tail, you lean over and whisper in
its ear,

“Beloved, I am so glad you are happy to
see me! Beloved, I am so glad, so very glad
you have come!”


I had a friend whose dog died this past week.  I was reminded of this poem not only as a result of that, but also for an “Emmaus” life that I want to live – living in awareness to see all things in life as a sign or as the actual presence of God’s love itself.  This poem helps me to remember to see the sacred in everything.  To see God surprising me and sneaking up on me through and in all of life, even my daily, dull, mundane routine and ordinary life.  And maybe even there more than anywhere if I had eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart wide open to welcome God in all ways.  To live sensitively to the nudges of my “burning heart”.  To notice when my heart is touched and to see and feel God in it.  To know, feel and imagine through all the good things in my life that God is coming to me, meeting with me, touching me and loving me through it, thus making all of my life a sacred romance with the divine and all of my life simply a response to love.

And a few quotes about dogs to ponder and consider:

“If I could only be the person my dog thinks I am.”
J.W. Stephens

“If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human I am.”
Charles Yu

“If obedience, unconditional love and loyalty are gonna get you into heaven, there’s going to be a lot more dogs in heaven than people.”
Richard Rohr

“We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.”
George Eliot