Francine the Stress Relaxation Expert
The street level sounds of Bangkok have to be heard to be believed. The traffic (when it’s actually moving) generates quite a din, with vehicles of all shapes and sizes -- motorcycles, tuk-tuks, pickup trucks, 18-wheelers -- all competing for space in a vicious motorized ballet staged daily on the narrow city streets. Making matters worse is the constant noise of construction taking place all over the Thai capital -- jackhammers, welders, cranes, cement mixers, etc. -- that combines with the traffic sounds in a continuous assault on the eardrums of man and beast.
If you're a Bangkok street dog who spends his or her days awash in this cacophonous chaos, oftentimes all you want to do is curl up in a ball, shut your eyes, and try to just keep the noise from intruding on the inner areas of your psyche. In this photo, Francine -- a four year old brown mutt who lives in the Saphan Kwai section of the city -- appears to be doing just that by having a nap. But actually, Francine is not sleeping at all – she’s meditating.
You see, Francine is a experienced practitioner of Zen meditation, which she uses to achieve a deep state of relaxation that enables her to block out the noises of her street environment. In this photo, Francine is in a deep meditative state despite being curled up in the middle of a busy sidewalk brimming with pedestrians, fruit sellers, and other dogs. Her breathing, pulse, circulation, and metabolism have all slowed dramatically, and her mind is completely at rest. She may appear to be asleep, but in fact she could not be more awake.
Meditation has enabled Francine to maintain a calm and positive outlook on life as a Bangkok street dog, and she has recently been talking about opening a meditation school to share her knowledge and technique with other homeless hounds. I’m thinking about trying it, as my nerves have been kind of frazzled lately by the tuk-tuk army that goes whizzing by my area every night. I’ll let you know how it turns out.