The other day I had a spiritual moment. A fleeting but gratifying feeling of universal consciousness. There wasn’t anything unusual about the night, I was returning from a friend’s house along an empty Spanish street cramped with buildings. I marched along the thing pathway in my normal fashion, when I spotted a black dog up ahead, heading toward me on the same path. Naturally cautious of strays, I stepped onto the road and walked in an arc to avoid the creature without paying too much attention.
The dog mirrored my arc to meet me in the middle. I was lost in thought by this point, when the possible stray appeared in my line of sight. It was a black labrador, just like my childhood pet Annie. We caught eye contact as it stopped by my feet. I held out a clenched fist for it to sniff and looked into the dog’s eyes. It looked back at me, tail wagging. It nudged my fist gently with its nose, maintaining eye contact. At that moment, in my head, I saw Annie. I had this overwhelming feeling that this stray lab was somehow Annie’s spirit, looking at me with a sense of pride and admiration, as if to say:
“You’re doing okay.”
And then the dog left, carrying on with its business.
It was difficult to reconcile this feeling, being grounded by science and rationalism as I often am. Conversely, I am also a dreamer, so I was in a peculiar position where I could believe, rationally, that in the moment between us, a mixture of chemical reactions and firing neurons that encouraged this emotion with a memory trigger. It was possible, probably, even likely. As I rationalised, the feeling faded.
Yet I made a choice to believe that in the grand cosmos that is our existence, with all the unfathomable mysteries of the universe, that there was a little part of my faithful childhood pet still around, checking in on me from time to time, checking that I’m being a good human, if only for a passing moment.
When I think of it now, I still get that feeling. I had a spiritual moment, but only because I chose to believe.