Most every day I take a walk through the piñon-juniper forest surrounding my house. On today’s journey, I relish the quiet. Finches chirp and flit among the treetops, puffy clouds skate across the broad sky, and the azure Sandia Mountains stand tall in the distance.

As I pass some horse stables, where the air smells beer-like from the manure, a dog races over a hill straight toward me. He is mid-sized with a blue-merle coat. Head down, hackles raised, tail flagging, he means business. My heart pounds and my palms become damp. Immediately I call on the Beloved and hold my hand up in front of me like a traffic cop signaling “stop.” The dog pauses, paces sideways and growls.

Through the years of my spiritual path I have learned to use my mantra as a means to ward off attacks, whether from animals or people. In dreams, a simple uttering of my Beloved’s name dismantles all adversity. Similarly, in my waking life, if a colleague, family member or neighbor comes at me with anger and I chant my mantra, the situation diffuses. Either love come in and calms all or the person suddenly hangs up the phone or leaves.

I am protected.

Today, however, the dog stays. I keep my hand up while I silently chant. He circles me, bears his fangs. He backs off, lunges at me. I yell for an owner to call him away but no one answers. I walk backwards, my front always toward him. He circles again, and again I chant my mantra.

For an instant I consider that he actually might bite me. The image crosses my screen—torn flesh, blood, pain. A tremor of fear runs through my body.

I have to take more extreme measures, I realize. Without even making a decision, I suddenly envision myself as the Beloved. My posture straightens so that I feel over six feet tall. My being settles into a state of loving strength.

Within seconds, the dog’s tail lowers. The fury in his eyes softens.  He turns and slinks away, his back curved in submission.

I’m astonished as I continue to walk, glancing back every few steps. His eyes track me, but now he stays lower to the ground, making his way over the hill from where he came.

It occurs to me that these days my lessons are like this. Where once it was enough to simply call for help, now I am asked to be the help, to own my true power, to wear it, walk within it, live it. (To read more about this, check out We Are Gladiators.)

When I return home, I recognize that for much of the day I have been under attack, not from a dog, but from myself. Since my recent health challenge I have chosen to relax more, to rely on the Beloved. But this day, my mind has its own agenda. It wants me at my computer, writing, editing and corresponding. Rather than stand up to this force, I’ve avoided it, hoping the pushy, biting vibration would leave.

Of course the dog manifested as that vibration in physical form.

Once I recognize its more subtle presence within, I call on the Beloved and chant my mantra. The dark force growls just as loudly as did the dog. It does not want to leave. In its presence, my heart beats fast. Still, for a half hour, I stand tall before it and own my Beloved strength.

Suddenly, it disappears over some inner hill.

I move into a state of pure love. I know that all comes from the Divine power, not from my little efforts in the material plane.

I am all the power of all creation. Any time I own It, I am It.

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