Chasing my tail

While I was considering human striving after happiness, it struck me yesterday how similar it is to a dog chasing its tail. I see something out of the corner and launch myself after it, chasing it down. It's not as close as it first appeared, not as easy to obtain, but as I spin round and round and round, I swear I'm gaining on it. It always stays tantalisingly just out of reach. It's only when I stop running in circles and remain still that I find peace. I can't see my tail when I'm not chasing, but I can know it's there. Having seen a glimpse of it and nothing more, it feels "shadowy and indistinct", but chasing it down makes me feel like I don't yet have it, whereas I can accept that I have it already if I stop chasing. It's always been a part of me, seeking happiness is only interpreting it as an external object, scrambling wildly after that which is already within me.


  • I'd also add to this what happens when you (I, we) actually catch the 'tail'. Then what? I've found it quite rapidly vanishes as it blends into the background of "been there, done that". Ironically, the chase is futile in two ways: the failure of never capturing, and the success in capturing. Knowing the game of life's rules make it much easier to play.
  • I had the feeling there was something missing from my analogy, and I'm pleased to see that it holds together now you've added to it. Having caught his tail, the only thing a dog can do with it is let it go again.
  • Or he can become like the turtle and be happy to dragging it in the mud
  • Our species has the peculiar ability to imagine non existent realities. When directed to the material world, we find ways to make life more secure and comfortable: we invent stone axe, central heating, penicillin, etc. When we direct imagination internally with an intent to change ourselves we cause ourselves nothing but sorrow. It always backfires. To fully be who you have been from birth is returning to the constant. Peaceful, yet striving on diligently as life demands.

    The dogs does this naturally; the turtle does this naturally. Neither attempts to be the other, each is innately 'committed' to being who they are from birth. They can't imagine being any other way. Dumb animals, right? ;-)
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