The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone by Michael J Chase (2013)

Book review: The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone: A Four-Legged Approach to Enlightenment by Michael J Chase (Hay House, 2013)

radicalpracticeoflovingeveryoneIs “loving everyone” really possible, as the title of Michael J. Chase’s new book suggests? The answer may surprise you, as he chronicles his journey toward enlightenment, gaining insight from a very unlikely source—a four-legged guru named Mollie, who happens to be the most lovable yet mischievous dog in the world.

In his attempt to understand her ability to unconditionally love all, Chase begins to see the world through his best friend’s eyes, especially during their morning walks. Mollie’s hilarious antics and maddening behavior ultimately lead to profound insights learned at the other end of the leash. Written with heart and sidesplitting humor, this one-of-a-kind true story of friendship and a divine albeit outrageous dog delivers on its promise to reveal a pathway toward enlightenment . . . and brings each of us one step closer to loving everyone.

With plenty of humour and lots and lots of heart, Michael J Chase recounts how poodle Mollie came into his life, and the life lessons she has taught him. It’s not some kind of spiritual version of Marley & Me, though. This is more about how walking a dog has inspired spiritual insights in a human, which is perhaps not exactly the reason why you’d get this book.

Yes, it contains cute stories about Mollie enthusiastically doing things that every dog would probably love, but it also shares stories about the author’s life and work, for instance when he goes to New York for a 24-hour charity project.

In a way, it’s more about how having Mollie and putting himself in her “shoes” (collar?) and realising that dogs are way more relaxed about daily life than we are than, well, anything else.

Mollie might be a furry Buddha (the author is a Buddhist, if I read it right), but I think this book might have a problem, because you expect the book to be all about a dog and then … it isn’t. Still, the book is worth a read in its own right. It’s charming, inspiring and restores a bit of faith in humanity. More people should follow Chase’s example, with or without being inspired by a beloved pooch.

4 out of 5 annoying neighbours.

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