Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Black Chow Named Bear


One of my personal superstitions is that a black dog in a friendly mood is a good sign for any day. I received confirmation just now, with a further tender ripple of synchronicity.

I am walking my little dog when a big furry black dog comes bounding along, unleashed. His head and chest are huge. When he rushes up to us, wanting to play, I see that he is very like a bear.
    “Bear!” his owner calls him.
    He’s a chow.
    A black dog named Bear, happy and off the leash – and of Chinese origin.
    Chows were kept as hunting and guard dogs in ancient China and Mongolia, and were considered good eating. Our use of the word “chow” for food probably originates from the edible dog, whose meat was available in Chinese restaurants until not that long ago.
    The Chinese piece offers an interesting sample of synchronicity: I had been working some Chinese elements into a draft chapter of a novel earlier that morning, and had returned to reading some Chinese classics. Just before walking my dog and meeting the chow, I had entered these thoughts from Chuang Tzu in my notebook:

How do I know that we who hate death are not lost children who have forgotten their way home?

And better still:

Fools think that they are awake.


Note: Shelf Elves among My Journals

I lifted the report above from my journal for January 4, 2007. I did not go looking for it; it came looking for me. I was reshelving binders and the typed page with the chow story came  fluttering out, into my hand.
    My favorite form of bibliomancy is to open an old journal at random and see what it gives me. Sometimes an old journal – or a shelf elf lurking nearby – chooses to speak to me before I consult it.
    This is also an example of how, when you decide to study synchronicity, the world gives you ever more experiences of it.

8 comments:

bookinista said...

We used to call it the HG - Household Guide - but "shelf elf" is a good moniker. Once during a particularly debilitating summer, when I couldn't find it in me to accomplish anything, I roused myself (or was roused) from a long drowse, stood up from the sofa, went to the bookshelf, and without thinking in my grogginess grabbed a small old paperback that fell open at William James' talk "On the Energies of Men." I read it in amazement, and then cleaned my entire house right after ...

Robert Moss said...

Shelf elves are bookish spirits under the suzerainty of the Library Angel. H
Common or garden house spirits, even the House Guide, can rarely keep up with them unless they are very well educated.

bookinista said...

Excellent!

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

Love the explanation about bookish spirits under the Library Angel's suzerainty! The Library Angel or shelf elves were in wonderful form yesterday. I visited a book sale, sponsored by the AAUW, at a Mall and came away with many wonderful finds. There was also an interesting case of 'rhyming'; Prince Harry's "Invictus Games" for wounded warriors have been in the news lately and I walked past a few posters for a masculine scent called "Invictus." Once home, opening one of the books at random, a book of poetry edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, I found the poem "Invictus," by W. E. Henley. Gratitude to the Angel and the elves.

nina said...

When fools, homes and enlightment are on the agenda, there is one great Chinese story from the thirteenth year of the Earth Dragon period about Wu-Ming, a " pickled cucumber Buddha".
Nobody knows if he is a complete fool or a great Bodhisattva but when he appears in a monastery, he starts having a miraculous effect on the monks who follow the Buddha path with so much seriousness and harsh discipline that finally rivalry and jealousy permeate and poison all their good intentions.
It inevitably ends with Wu-Ming "departure" from the monastery but in the following years he is ocassionaly seen by people as he is trying to find unsuccessfully his way back home to the monastery.
The story is rounded out with an encounter of a young monk with Wu-Ming who asks him: "Could you tell me where my home is?". The monk replies: " Is the home you speak to be found in the relative world of time and place, or do you mean the Original Home of all pervading Buddha nature?
After considering the question for a while, Wu-Ming grins as only he can and says, "Yes".

Kali Dass said...

really this animal looks like the bear .................

Kings cross Taxi

Mokihana Calizar said...

"when you decide to study synchronicity, the world gives you ever more experiences of it" ... my astrologer posed the question "What are you studying now that Saturn heads into Sagitarrius?"

My answer: synchronicity! Thank you for the sign.

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