Peace and Barking Dogs
This morning I awoke to the shrill sounds of my neighbors barking dogs. Again. Boy, is it tempting to run over there and pound on the door, shouting about how those loud piercing barks are disturbing my life. As someone who seeks harmony and strives to live an enlightened life, what’s a peaceful person to do? Fortunately I’ve had a lot of training — Marshall Rosenberg’s Non Violent Communication, Thich Nhat Hanh’s principles of peace, and a real desire to understand and have empathy for ‘the other side.’
So, instead of running out in my pajamas to confront the neighbor, I lay in bed trying to find words that might bring peace, help find a bridge between my worn-down ears, too-early rising, aborted sleep, and my neighbor’s love for her daughter who recently moved in with those dogs after losing her house. What’s a peaceful way to handle HUGE IRRITATION?
Adrenaline pounding, nerves a wreck, I chose to type out a letter. It began:
“Dear Neighbor, I know that you are a kind and compassionate person who really cares about other people and tries to help them in many ways. Can you please find a solution to the barking dogs and the problems they are causing me?”
Because she was not at home, I put it in an envelope and hung it on the door. Many things could happen, including several possibilities that may not be to my liking. But I am holding out a good hope that kindness can create a bridge, that people really do care beyond themselves, and that there are peaceful solutions. If Thich Nhat Hanh can create a peace movement as a result of the bombings in his country, if the South African Truth and Reconciliation movement can find common ground between murderers and their victims, I can find a way to deal peacefully with my neighbor’s barking dogs as I write about spiritual living.