The Story of Shen Go (Spirit Dog)
Have you ever been in one of those situations where everyone is looking expectantly at you and you have no idea what to say? The elder Chinese, when at a dinner party or banquet, like to tell stories or recite poetry. I was attending one in Baoding City with my teacher, Master Wang Juemin. And - it was my turn.
Think quickly, I told myself. But, myself said back, "What kind of story can I tell? I have no stories."
But I stood up.
So what am I going to say? Everyone looked expectantly at me. Well, I could tell a coming of age drinking story - but wait, although very funny, that one has a naughty ending - can't tell that one.
I could tell a fishing story. But do these distinguished guys fish? Don't know, but don't think so. No, no fishing story.
All of this flashed in my head for about 3 seconds or so. Here I was caught with no story.
Just as I was about to say "I have no story" and sit down, it came to me they may find it interesting to hear about my dog Shen Go.
Yes, I know, very few folks in the good ol USA have dogs with Chinese names. But I had not one but two.
So here is the story of Shen Go, my Spirit Dog:
I was out on my normal morning run. I usually run on this rural dirt road surrounded by beautiful and mystical woods that is quite a way from any civilization; no traffic and no people. This particular morning had fog rolling about, threading its way though the tree limbs and making everything more enticing and magical.
I had traveled about 2 miles or so on my run. I all of a sudden felt something in the energy. I became wary, often glancing behind me. I didn't know what to make of this as usually I had an extremely peaceful run while basking in the beauty of Tao.
I was practicing qigong running, as had been my practice for several years while running. This consists of 4 main stages; stamina, qi pushing up a hill, swiftness, and the lightness technique. I was currently in the lightness phase when the feeling of wariness became extremely acute.
I glanced, for the 50th time, behind me. Nothing.
After about 10 seconds I looked behind me again. Appearing as swiftly as an avenging Spirit, all of a sudden, a wild and snarling animal jumped out of the woods and began to chase me.
So I, as an accomplished qigong practitioner, calmly entered my swiftness phase of qigong.
Are you kidding me? The practice of Qigong left my mind as swiftly as a dove flying over one's head.
What did I do? I panicked and ran like hellfire itself was pushing at my soul.
After about 1/2 mile I said to myself, surely I have outrun this spooky and terrible apparition. So I glanced back.
No, this terrible apparition was right behind me. I did manage to see it was a wild dog, baring it's teeth at me like a wolf about to eat lunch. And he was coming on swiftly.
Holy crap, I thought. So I put on another burst of speed. After a while I became very winded. Surely a dog doesn't have the stamina to run this long, I tried to talk myself into believing. So I looked back. This wild and vicious creature of the woods was still right behind me. So I put on one last and desperate burst of speed.
I didn't make it much further. I was done, about to be mauled and eaten by a wild, ferocious, teeth baring dog.
So I turned around to face him. Prepared to battle until the gory, blood letting, and bitter end.
And then that moment happened, when time stands still and one's life becomes merged in the never ending Tao. In slow motion I watched as this creature from hell, spittle foaming from his lips, jumped up and landed on my chest, reached for my face, and...
He licked me. All over my face.
Can't ignore a message from Spirit like that. I took him home and named him Shen Go. He never allowed anyone else to touch him and remained quite wild. He was my Spirit Dog.