|Paws and Effect
By Bernard Gunther, Ph.D.
“I have known three Zen masters in my life
and all of them were cats”
"Life is like a cat
it often doesn’t do
what you want it to
it tests annoys
sometime confuses you
life is not your fantasy
it is what’s true
good for you
because all and all
it’s your spiritual teacher
your guru" *
At this critical now point in our out
of balance world it is time to pause, and take stock.
To cooperate and learn from nature rather than dominating
and abuse our environment. To return to our spiritual
essence rather than constantly being overwhelmed by
endless desires, greed, suffering, fear, frustration
and alienation. To find balance, and sustain the subtle
tranquility beyond the drama of continuous mind chatter
and emotional intensity. To return to that eternal benign
space that is the source of our being.
As a long time student and counselor
of spiritual awareness I have observed that animals
in general and cats specifically are divine spiritual
beings and great teachers of consciousness. Historically
cats have been enjoyed, revered and even worshiped.
Since ancient time their natural intuitive behavior,
magical present and purring peacefulness has been acknowledged
and celebrated. We overly conditioned humans can learn
a great deal from them. Their behavior exemplifies self
awareness, continuous relatedness, and effortless harmonious
Cats live in the kingdom of heaven
in the peace that is beyond all understanding. They
are the living expression of the dharma; practicing
without preaching. Quietly conveying their message through
their total presents, behavior and constant meditative
focus. Their every step, moment, breath is the flow
of natures wholeness. They are awareness in integration;
in every action, movement, stillness and in action.
Total intelligence and sensitivity beyond thought. intuition
without separation, superstition, guilt or inhibition.
Original innocence, primal knowingness, pure beingness;
they are buddhas of equanimity, exemplifying universal
love bliss and harmony.
I find that like all great masters,
cats guide by example, through their beingness, as well
as how and what they do. So you don’t have to
go to elsewhere to find a guru. Zen sitting quietly
doing nothing, my cat Rumi exudes quiet calmness contentment.
Egoless, without verbal thought, he is totally present,
living fully in the eternal now. The perfect integration
of yin and yang, accepting and surrendering to his dependence
while remaining completely independent. Doing one thing
at a time, each graceful step is a delicate awareness
dance. Eating with great glee yet remaining utterly
finicky. Cleaning himself, savoring every last lick.
Cats are alert sublime meditation in
stillness, action and interaction with total satisfaction.
Gliding effortlessly through life entirely at ease,
moving as slow fast as they please. Relaxed, in neutral,
if something catches their attention they can shift
in an instant into high or even warp speed. Playful,
without excessive exertion or tension, expending only
the amount of vitality that is necessary. Friendly and
affectionate only when they want to be. Security purring
ecstasy, congruent being in spiritual integrity.
Studies show that living with or just
observing animals can improve your health, longevity,
awareness, serenity, sensitivity and sensibility. Being
with a furry companion enhances your relaxation ability
and enjoyment facility. To impersonally watch the ever
changing flow, to observe circumstances come, change
and go without being overly attached, not taking it
or yourself so seriously. We can learn from our feline
friends to be in each moment, aware in our bodies, alive
to our senses. To celebrate every touch, taste, sound,
smell and see that we are continually surrounded by
beauty. To be sensitive to breathing, movement, posture
and our relationship to the earth. Not to get caught
in excessive thought and activity. To rest, sleep and
regenerate when our bodies tell us to.
To stop, be still, and realize that
the game of life is the eternal impermanent play and
interplay of form. To be conscious of our catlike nature;
nonattached, less dependent, present and independent.
To rediscover that we are and have always been light,
enlightened, fully free, with the awareness and power
to constantly appropriately authentically be.
we are all
shades and colors
of the incandescent glow
of love’s everlasting
dancing rainbow *
*from the The Power of Meow ©2005
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