Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


Metaphor Monday :: Take the Dog for a Walk :: How to Avoid Getting Caught in Limiting Mindsets

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

DSC_0245.jpgI heard a joke on Old Jews Telling Jokes that is a funny testimony to the power of mindlessness. 

It goes something like this: A man is stranded on an island with only a dog and a pig. After a long while he become lonely and the pig starts to look attractive. When he approaches the pig to consummate his attraction, the dog bites him on the leg. This happens every time, much to the man’s frustration. One day, the man sees a log with what looks like a person on it. He swims out and rescues this gorgeous woman; a supermodel who fell off a cruise ship. She’s grateful for being saved and says, “If there is ANYTHING I can do …” The man says, “Yeah. Would you mind taking the dog for a walk.”
It’s easy to get caught in limiting mind sets. We get fixated on an idea and cut our selves off from other considerations. We discover our limiting view in hindsight. The fixation affects our ability to perceive what is right in front of us — the beautiful woman that might otherwise be more gratifying than the pig.
Mindfulness practice helps us to overcome the tendency to be mindless in this way. In part, by slowing things down and giving us room and time to consider other options. It helps us to be less impulsive and reactive and thereby more considerate and deliberate in how we perceive and act. True, mindfulness practice doesn’t cure us of mindlessness, but my experience shows it diminishes its frequency and intensity. 
So, slow things down and take a good look at what is right in front of you; it may surprise you!


  • Colleen

    Being surprised is often very playfull! It’s true that we sometimes discover our limiting view in hindsight…better late than never! Each and every one of us will experience whatever we need to discover, when we are ready to accept and use that information:>)
    When I was younger, I sometimes experienced frustration because of life circumstances. A day, week, month, year, or maybe even several years down the road, I realized what I had learned from the experience, and was grateful for the gift. I decided to go directly to the lessons, opportunities, gratitude, and gifts the challenges offer in the moment. Not much hindsight anymore, but rather, unlimited sight in the moment:>)When we are open to all that is, we experience the magic in our world:>)

  • ganoba

    that the woman is a better choice than the pig is another stupid mindset.
    In fact the story is replete with mind sets, all arbitrary and mindless.

  • Robert

    I don’t think this story is appropriate for the internet. I suspect we all need to clean it up a little bit on what we post on line. The pig and the woman could have been replaced with other scenarios. But, I undersatnd it would change the nature of the story.
    Still, theirs got to be a better way to express the moral of the story here.

  • Colleen

    Thank you Robert. This story offers a lesson, and I was surprised at how it was presented. Perhaps there is an opportunity for hindsight?

  • Cheri

    Yes, there could have been another way to express the moral of the story , but, I believe the story itself expressed the the point of the artical perfectly. The artical was about how our mindset affects our daily decisions. Now, your mindset was that you did not care to read about a story which you felt to be slightly ‘crude’,so, in essence you missed the point of the artical. Now, my mindset was to NOT miss the point of the lesson that the artical was trying to get across. Which was about peoples mindsets, not about a woman and a pig and that some man was experiencing immoral behavior over. I pray more people ‘got’ the message.

  • http://www.natosongs.com Nate Orshan

    Count me among those who appreciate the use of a dirty joke in the service of a Buddhist truth. I’m sure I’ll have occasion to recall the punchline as I miss an opportunity that mindfulness might have helped me perceive…

  • John

    When I first read this story/joke I understood that the man was “attracted” to the pig as food to eat, not as a sexual object. Only after a second reading did the other meaning appear in my mind.
    Then I got the meaning, but it seemed like a round about way to convey the meaning.

  • Emily Bedard

    Great post, Arnie

  • Brendan

    I agree with John in that the story was too round about. Besides what about homosexuality? Moreover there is far too much in the media placing great importance on superficial beauty. The message gets lost when the delivery is flawed.

Previous Posts

Getting Past the Tyranny of Should: A Timely Message for the Holiday Season
There are many things we "should" be doing around the holidays. We should be happy, merry, and jolly. We should be with family. We should be the consummate hosts. In the course of the day, we might impose expectations, rules, and agendas on ourselves tirelessly. This is the tyranny of should.

posted 10:36:45am Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Finding the Fall Line: The Technique of Practice
As I was meditating this morning, I came up with a new practice metaphor. There were times when I was clearly in the flow of my body, very attuned the myriad body sensations and there were other moments where I was somewhere else or trying to manage some aspect of the moment, almost as if I was tryi

posted 10:13:53am Dec. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Prime Time, All the Time
An add for television streaming service Hulu states, "Every minute of every day should be considered prime time." This clever quip has a double meaning. On the one hand, it reflects the tyrannical notion that every experience that we have should be exciting, entertaining, and novel. On the other han

posted 9:31:08am Dec. 08, 2014 | read full post »

Giving Thanks 2014: Still a Lot to be Grateful For
There is not now, nor ever, a shortage of tragic, unjust, and violent events occurring around the world. The news media exploits these events and brings them into our brains 24/7 with an unrelenting insistence. Our nervous systems are vulnerable to these kinds of information. They signal danger and

posted 8:56:43am Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Buddhist Icon--Thich Nhat Hanh Recovering in Hospital
Beloved Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh (TNH) has experienced a severe cerebral hemorrhage and remains in critical condition. He recently had his 88th Birthday. I surmise that he is, along with the Dalai, Lama, one of the two most readily recognized Buddhist figures in the world today. Af

posted 6:27:39am Nov. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.