Saturday, September 7, 2013

Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART FIFTEEN

by Dino Dogan

Welcome to the very beginning of the third and final branch of the Human-Dog Problem Tree

The Nature of Unbeginner's Mind (NoUM) - Part 1 of 3

Human brain only does one thing, it relates. It "tells" us how to relate to our environment, people around us (animals are people too), universe, innerverse... All we ever do is relate.

You got to learn how to relate ~Aerosmith.
Photo lajz

The constant theme throughout the Human-Dog Problem Tree is the assertion that the way a person relates to dogs is indicative of the way that person relates to everything else. Have you noticed?

The way forward is to improve our relationship (the way we relate) with our dogs, thereby creating a model of behavior that we can mimic and use to improve our relationship with everything.

One aspect of "relating" is the Nature of the Unbeginner's Mind. Strap in, its going to be a bumpy ride.

Photo hounddiggity

As always, I dont want to talk in some undefinable, esoteric terms. We will tie this with a very real and tangible process we are all familiar with.

But first, what does it take to shed our UnBegginer's Mind and get to a state Buddhist practitioners refer to as the Beginner's Mind?

Lets take a look not at how we do it, but how is it done to us. Military will provide a good example.

Photo West Point - The U.S. Military Academy

If you've ever joined a military, or at least watched a movie about it, this process will ring a bell.

Step 1. Shave everyone's head
Step 2. Give everyone the same uniforms
Step 3. Break down the mind's resistance to instruction by means of physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation (getting up at 5am is sleep deprivation in my book)

What is the net effect of steps 1 and 2?

It serves to strip recruits of their ego. Call this "ego" individuality, uniqueness, personality, what have you, I will call it ego.

"Ego stripping" is a necessary part of the Beginner's Mind equation. Removing the ego from the process fosters detachment. Detachment is a necessary part of dog training as well as everything else.

And what about step 3?

The Beginner's Mind is open, pliable, accepting, unresisting...sleep deprivation makes us more amenable as does physical exhaustion, have you noticed?

Side note: Military systems will never openly admit to this. Instead, other "rational" explanations are given. Shaving heads prevents lice spreading, uniforms make everyone feel like they are part of the same "team", basic training (physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation) serve to war-proof a soldier. All reasonable explanations but NOT the real reason why military systems do it. They do it because they need your mind to be in the Beginner's state.

This paves the way for the Drill Sargent (or whoever) to bark instructions while we blindly obey with little desire or motivation to resist. This later translate into blind order execution due to conditioning (yes, same kind of conditioning humans do on dogs, humans also do on humans). Creating the Auschwitz effect of "I was just following orders". But I digress.

Photo Greg Walters

Also, notice the similarity between what the army does and what Buddhist monks do. When joining the Buddhist ranks they will...

Step 1. Shave everyone's head
Step 2. Give everyone the same uniforms (flowing orange robes instead of army fatigues)
Step 3. Break down the mind's resistance to instruction by means of mindful and deliberate edification process.

I bet you didnt think army systems and Buddhist monks have much in common, did you?

Both aspire to reach the Beginner's Mind. In the first case, its done to you, in the second its something you engage in deliberately and willingly.

I hope you are convinced enough by now to consider that since both army and monks want to achieve it, it must be a worth while pursuit. So lets continue our quest for the Beginner's Mind, shall we?

This feels so incomplete, but for the sake of brevity I decided to break it up into multiple posts.


Dino Dogan is a blogger, writer, biker, dog trainer, singer/songwriter, Martial Artist. Dino is now busy with his DIY Blogger Net blog. He is also behind the great social media tool, Triberr. Hopefully one day he'll return to dog blogging. Meanwhile, you can connect with Dino on Twitter or Facebook.

Related articles:
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART ONE
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART TWO
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART THREE
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART FOUR 
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART FIVE 
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART SIX 
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART SEVEN
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART EIGHT
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART NINE
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART TEN 
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART ELEVEN
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART TWELVE 
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART THIRTEEN 
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART FOURTEEN 

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