My goal is for you to have a strong, heart-centered connection with your dog. And that’s actually relatively simple to accomplish, once you get your thoughts, judgments, and expectations out of the way – and focus on what’s happening in the moment. The problem is, even when you are successful at getting out of your own way, what do you actually DO to fill the void? If you’re not analyzing the situation and forming opinions about it, if you’re not having “reactions” to what’s going on around you, then what do you do to stay powerfully present – in your life, and with your dog? The answer is quite simple, and it’s the subject of Marci Shimoff’s latest book – Love for No Reason.
What is Love for No Reason?
You can find Love for No Reason by getting in touch with the love that is within you - boundless, unconditional, love – that’s there no matter what’s happening in your environment. As Marci Shimoff writes in her first chapter:
This is higher Love, an inner state of pure love that doesn’t depend on other people, external conditions, or circumstances. It’s a love we experience from the inside out. When you’re in a state of Love for No Reason you experience freedom, peace, joy, openness, and deep fulfillment. When you “Love for No Reason” – you don’t need a reason – you love just because.
When you love for no reason, you BRING love to your outer experiences rather than trying to extract love from them.
Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? And the beauty of it is that you can actually learn to experience Love for No Reason rather easily – following simple steps that Marci outlines in her book. Along with giving you plenty of examples and real-life stories of people (both normal “everyday” people like you and me, and the Nelson Mandelas of the world) who have learned to experience Love for No Reason, her book is meant to be a “How-to” manual for strengthening your ability to experience this Love for No Reason all the time.
In writing this book, Marci Shimoff interviewed over 150 “Love Luminaries” (from Baba Ram Dass, to the Dalai Lama, to Melissa Etheridge, to...) and synthesized their advice about experiencing Love for No Reason into the plan that she describes in the book. The exercises are all easy to put into practice – and because they often come from other sources (which are all credited) you are likely to discover many new resources to help you on your path. It seems that Marci (and her co-author Carol Kline) gave a lot of thought to ensuring that the book gave quality and actionable information – without becoming overwhelming. Until you start reading through the additional resources at the back of the book, that is!
The Science of Unconditional Love
In Love for No Reason, Marci Shimoff also includes quite a bit of information about the science of unconditional love – and there are MANY interesting facts. For instance – according to the Institute of HeartMath (which has teamed up with Stanford University et al. to study the physiology of love), it’s not simply important that your heart is beating. It’s also important HOW your heart beats – with positive states of emotion (e.g. Love for No Reason) producing “Heart Rhythm Coherence” – while negative emotional states produce “chaotic heart rhythms” that are actually hard on your body.
To top it off, when your heart beats in a coherent pattern, it produces an electromagnetic field strong enough to be sensed three feet away from your body! So when we talk about your dog actually being able to FEEL what you feel – there’s science to back that up. The coherence of your own heart rhythm can have a positive effect on the “hearts” (and beings) around you.
The heart also has its own neurons and neurotransmitters, and can function autonomously as a “brain.” As Marci writes, “New research shows that, surprisingly, more information seems to flow from the heart to the brain than from the brain to the heart.” I’m only scratching the surface here – the chapter (Chapter 7 – Living with an Open Heart) is fascinating.
Love for No Reason and Your Dog
In that chapter, Marci Shimoff also talks about a subject close to my heart: how our pets are perfect examples of giving “Love for No Reason”. She mentions how being around animals can actually help you practice receiving love – because it is vitally important to be open in both directions.
From that perspective, I think that there’s so much more to add to the discussion of how animals (and, specifically, our dogs) can have an impact on our ability to experience Love for No Reason. For inasmuch as the experience of unconditional love can help you with your dog (particularly as you work to overcome any challenges that you’re facing), the techniques that I teach for how to work, play, and relate with your dog can also become their own gateway to Love for No Reason.
As Shimoff writes in Love for No Reason, fear and love are essentially mutually exclusive. In Natural Dog Training, the approach to working with your dog is completely heart-centered, as you learn how to work with your dog’s emotional experience of the world. Once you tap into your dog’s emotional center, you stop fearing what your dog “might” do (run off, attack another dog, chew your slippers, etc.).
When that fear vanishes, you’re instead filled up with an appreciation, a love, for what your dog does do. Even when it’s not exactly what you want, you start to see it for what it is – a beautiful expression of how nature works. And feeling that love empowers you to work WITH what is – and to shape it into what you want it to be.
This is just one example of how your relationship with your dog can create coherence in the way that you experience love in all other aspects of your life. The presence and appreciation for what’s happening, in the moment, echoes out into the rest of your experience.
C'mon, Marci! Are you really going to teach me all that?!?!
I have to admit that when I first started reading Love for No Reason, I felt a little skeptical. How on earth is Marci Shimoff going to teach me how to experience blissful states of unconditional love in a mere 300 pages? However, very quickly the experience of reading the book shows you just how easy it can be, just how close to you "pure love" actually is. For not only are the exercises, the plan for strengthening the “love body,” effective and simple – but the reading of the book itself - especially through its anecdotes - creates a palpable opening within you. You just can’t help but be affected by the stories that you read – enough to be convinced, by the end of the book, that you can be a Love Warrior.
- How to be present
- How to experience greater vitality
- How to love yourself unconditionally
- How to open your heart to loving others (for no reason), and receiving love
- How to communicate compassionately – even when there are uncomfortable things that need to be expressed
- How to see beauty in all that surrounds you
- How to feel a sense of wholeness and unity
- Plus additional resources to explore all of these areas in greater depth
Love is, after all, what you are. You just have to open yourself up, and get out of the way. And make choices that serve to increase the amount of love in your life – the love you give and feel for yourself, others, and the rest of your existence. With or without your dog, Love for No Reason is an excellent way for you to experience boundless, unconditional love in everything that you do.
For more information about Marci Shimoff, and Love for No Reason, please visit: http://www.theLoveBook.com
And to discuss this article as well as other articles here on the Natural Dog Blog, please visit the NaturalDogBlog forum. Namaste!