The Yummish tradition teaches that pets are central to the development of two of the most fundamental building blocks of your personal Yum – generosity and humility. The Yummish Council defines a “pet” as a “non-human being that serves as an in-home spiritual guide for a human or group of humans.” In recognition of this sacrifice, the pet is given an exalted place in our homes and lives. The pet must be free from stress or want in order to stay in a pure state of YUM. In exchange for this the privilege of living with such a sacred being, so fully dedicated to the YUM, we cheerfully accept responsibility for all of the pet's corporeal needs.
It is a tragedy that not everyone can have an in-home relationship with a pet. The Yummish Council is saddened by this and encourages those for whom it is practical to pursue enlightening non-human relationships through volunteer opportunities. Though it is not mandated, time spent in service to non-humans is strongly recommended at some point in the life of the Yummish devotee.
It is easy to see how such an arrangement builds a person's generosity. A certain percentage of your daily efforts and resources benefit a being who will never repay them in any tangible way. Instead, such deep connection to the YUM can cause the pet to behave in ways those less Yummishly inclined might find unnerving. When you enter into a relationship with a pet, you are agreeing to share with them all that you have or will have. Your food is their food; your home, their home. When your cat becomes annoyed with you for not giving her the pepperoni from your pizza, know that she is right and you were wrong to frustrate her and harsh her Yum. You may begin such a relationship thinking that you can keep some Yummish thing – the couch, the kitchen table, your leather jacket – for your exclusive use, but with patience and love your dog will soon bring out your generous nature as you give up on your rules, give in to his desires and give up the foot space at the end of the bed.
Pets also increase our sense of humility as each day we prostrate ourselves in service to beings whom we might, in different circumstances, consider a tasty lunch. No matter what power and influence a person may wield during the rest of the day, all men are truly equal when holding a hot plastic bag of fresh doggie waste. People far and wide may quake and tremble at the sound of your name, but to your cat you're just the guy who scoops his poo out of a box. Pets are not generally compelled to thank you and may give your service little or no regard. You may call yourself “master” or “owner,” but to your pet you are “servant,” and it is better to embrace this role.
Once you have embraced this role of grateful servant to your pet, you may find yourself having more empathy with and patience for your fellow flawed, annoying humans. You will experience much less frustration and disappointment as you stop expecting external reward for your actions. Once you are able to put aside your ego in favor of Yum, you will find that things that mattered before matter differently. When that happens, thank your Yummish spirit guide.
Today's Yummish Exercise:
Play with your pet(s). If you don't have a pet, spend at least 20 minutes at Cute Overload or cruising your friends Facebook or MySpace sites for pet pictures.