Dogs "are interconnected in the great weave of life, something that we have become abstracted from. They give us back at least a semblance of the instincts we have lost-- deep connectivity, love, empathy, caring," said Dr. Jean Houston, Monday night's guest on the show, whose new book is titled Mystical Dogs.
Houston, a wide-ranging scholar and eloquent speaker who helped shape the New Age movement, has known such luminaries as the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa and Eleanor Roosevelt throughout her life. But she said that she had learned the most from her relationships with various dogs over the years. "I see them with their...earnest presence...as teachers to cross the threshold into the next stage of our potential being, because they love us, they overreach, try to become us...and we too are inspired to stretch beyond our comfort zones," she said.
Many dogs seem to be able to exhibit abilities that go beyond their natural instincts Houston said. As man's rescuers and protectors, they will "rush into raging rivers, leap into fires, bring people out of snowstorms," she outlined, adding that some dogs can even sniff out illnesses. As callers presented their unusual and moving pet stories in the second half of the program, Houston commented on our deep and primal connections with the animal kingdom.
Tonight's guest, Dr. Jean Houston, a world renowned author and lecturer, is widely considered to be one of the powerhouses of the Human Potential movement. Houston was a protégé of the great anthropologist Margaret Mead, and she also co-led seminars with the influential mythologist Joseph Campbell.
In the 1960's she married Robert Masters (the sexologist who co-authored the Masters-Johnson Report) and together they studied altered states of consciousness derived through LSD usage, which was documented in their book The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. Later, they focused their research on altering consciousness via meditation and guided imagery. In the 1990's, it was reported that Houston was an advisor to Hillary Clinton, visiting her at the White House and conducting playful exercises with her to get in touch with the wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt.
One of Houston's long-standing endeavors is the Mystery School which she began in 1984. "Mystery School is a community of ordinary, extraordinary people who come together to dream and scheme themselves into their highest human possibility," she wrote in her book A Mythic Life. Over weekend long sessions which run throughout the course of a year, Houston combines elements of psychology, music, theater, and metaphysics to create a communal sharing of visionary journeys and transformative relationships.