“Dogs and Spiritual Materialism”, by “Damun Gracenin.

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled on some friend’s writing with the above title. This will be the first time I post passages written by another. With his permission, I just had to share this as I still smile reading it. It is just too good to pass it up. Thank You Damun.

  “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”
~ Mark Twain ~


As the world goes increasingly mad, humans are losing the ability to connect with each other in deep and meaningful ways.  That, my friend, is why there is so much dog poop on the sidewalk these days.


Humans resist the moment.  Dogs embrace it. Dogs lack a cerebral cortex, the “thinking brain” that distinguishes humans from other species. It makes life simpler. I entertain no doubt that dogs are well-connected to The One. All they need is a little sniff, and they befriend each other. They do not have a human brain that gets in the way. As poet Robert Sward puts. “In a world of NO, Dogs are YES.”

spirit a

We have all heard someone say, “That’s not true. My dog is smart. He can think. He knows just how I feel, and he knows just what I want him to do.” That is a fact.  Dogs are the ultimate co-dependent companions. They will play into whatever racket their masters harbor in those semi-conscious vaults where they hide their “stuff.” Dogs will play emotional games that stable friends and lovers simply will not play.  “Lock your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car. After an hour, who’s happy to see you?” (Unattributed)


For the most part, a human can gain complete control over a dog, and the dog will not develop a resentment.  Resentments are a uniquely human characteristic. A dog will express anger when its fear button is pushed.  So will a human.  But, a dog will not make up a story about the anger.  He will not act on anger in unrelated ways. A dog does not take hostages, take momma’s machine gun to the local elementary school and kill children. He does not run red lights, rape and kill his girlfriends children, or seduce his neighbor’s mistress because he is angry about the cost of a new set a tires for his pickup truck. He just bares his teeth and growls. Or, he poops on the rug. We humans are not allowed to do that. We go shopping instead.

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Dogs do have some human characteristics. They will decide on an arbitrary enemy and attack. Ask any mail carrier. Unlike humans, dogs do not justify their attacking with religious, economic, or political principles. They just go for the juicy leg. Dogs do not have political arguments. They do not kill for Jesus or for Mohammed. Dogs do not buy up all the water packets in the Front Range, or start wars in the Middle East to control the price of oil. They just snap at anything that comes between them and their food. Dogs practice radical honesty.

Running down the road C

Why do humans find honesty so difficult? Perhaps it has something to do with the "original sin." Lots of old-time scholars see the apple of Adam and Eve as “knowledge,” or “consciousness.” Eve bit the forbidden fruit, and so began the mental processing that has resulted in all human accomplishments and all human failures. Mental processing has given us many wonderful things. I am particularly fond of the motorcycle. My good friend Kamala has four cell phones and two computers. Many of us stay in touch through social media, like Facebook. However, we cannot deny that the world is going increasingly mad. As a species, we may have stretched our nerves past the breaking point. So, we become interested in finding our way back to what is simple and enduring. We want to nestle into our spiritual center, so we seek the stairway to enlightenment.

The San Dunes C

So, you ask, how do dogs help humans overcome the impediment of spiritual materialism? The Human Brain, or cerebral cortex, requires that we humans find a stairway to enlightenment. Dogs, who lack this particular bit of grey matter, are born enlightened. The thinking brain is the very thing that enables us people to feel separate from The One, or whatever name you wish to call it. I’m here. God is over there somewhere. The old poets, like Rumi, Hafiz, and Ib’n Arabi knew that all desire is a sublimation of the desire to reunite with The One. It’s the essence of the hole in the doughnut. Although any dog will eat a doughnut, they are not at all interested in the hole. The dog is one with everything simply because it does not bear the burden of a human brain.

Spirit at -The Oasis- C

Spirit and --- C

Spirit at Blue Mesa Lake, CO C

Spiritual materialism is a by-product of the Age of Marketing. One of the Great Follies of our time. “The New Age” has packaged the stairway to enlightenment in many high-profit forms. For a price, we can fill the hole in the doughnut with crystals, magic, mantras, workshops, retreats, forums, cards, runes, Enneagram readings, books, vision quests, sweat lodges, Sufi dancing, cabala lessons, witchcraft, raw food and a dozen other hipster raves.  This idea, that one can buy methods for using the very tool that separates us from The One – the human mind – to find our way back, is called “Spiritual Materialism.”  If you pay attention to corporate media, you have noticed that Madison Avenue has discovered the trick. We can get a transcendental experience from driving fast in an expensive car on the right tires. We will find love if we buy the right toothpaste. We can find a soul-mate who looks like an airbrushed Playmate if we fly XYZ airlines to a vacation destination on some island in an azure blue sea. Non-profits have picked up the idea of spiritual materialism as well. We can save the world by donating to starving children, well-digging missions, Green Peace, politically-correct lobbyists.  It’s crazy-making.

Spirit and the Log

Spirit The Rock C

That’s why so many people go ga-ga over dogs now. Humans resist the moment. Dogs embrace it. Humans are seduced by nerve-wracking technology. Dogs get excited when a food bag rattles. Humans have to work hard to buy excitement. Dogs simply sniff. Humans are desperate to find enlightenment. Dogs are there already.

A Man and his Dog AL

Stay well,
              Ara and Spirit

Classic Spirit C

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11 Responses to ““Dogs and Spiritual Materialism”, by “Damun Gracenin.”

  1. Dean Says:

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    Thanks Ara for a great reminder. Best wishes to both of you.

  2. Motorcycle Philosophy Says:

    Great post. I love dogs, and of course motorcycles. But I also love to read about philosophy, and this kind of mixes all three subjects. Maybe you have to spend enough time in the great wide outdoors with a dog and motorcycle to feel gain such thought.

  3. Pleinguy Says:

    Love it! Great post. Take care.

  4. Bill Says:

    Wow…..right on!

  5. Steve Says:

    Gosh so true and I love the phrase spiritual materialism. Promised enlightenment for a cost by the many snake oil sales people when the answer is within all of us. Live in balance. We have somehow got caught up in the mindless media machine hell bent on selling us what we do not need. Thank god for my dog. Turn off the T.V and the Radio and go out for a walk. Thank you for the clarity of your friends writings and your experiences.

  6. Marti Says:

    Great post, Ara and lovely images of Spirit. Hope you are both doing well.

  7. kyndapal Says:

    Outstanding photos to illustrate Damun’s sound canine philosophy. Those are some of Spirit’s best pics!

    An Idea for Valentines: Look over Ara’s “One Pan” Recipes together, pick out a few, and Voila! You just might cook up a delicious evening of your own.
    Best tip ever for the fellas: Whatever you do, do it on the 13th and then say that you simply could not wait one more day to express your love!

    Ara, stay warm and keep up the Good work, with Spirit.

    Oh to become worthy, of how my dog already treats me.

  8. Beverly Purvis Says:

    Great one, not every day I have the chance to read such article. Thank you and keep it up!

  9. texascindy Says:

    One of your best. And, of course, it’s all about the dog! 😉 Hope you are well and warm. Hugs and scritches!

  10. scruffy Says:

    Thank you from Ms. Daisy & me ~

  11. David McMillan Says:

    Ara – I find myself dipping into your website every couple of months. Your philosophy on Life, on dogs and of course on motorcycles has had a huge influence on my way of thinking. I hope that, once I’ve soaked up enough of it, I’ll find the courage to follow the path I truly want. You are quite possibly the sanest man on earth. I hope our paths cross one day before this journey is over. Love and best wishes, David McMillan. Yorkshire, England.

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