Relatively uninhibited philosophizings on self and kosmos whenever the mood strikes...
Friday, July 21, 2006
And the Felines Shall Lead Us
In India, I was living in a little hut, about six feet by seven feet. It had a canvas flap instead of a door. I was sitting on my bed meditating, and a cat wandered in and plopped down on my lap. I took the cat and tossed it out the door. Ten seconds later it was back on my lap. We got into a sort of dance, this cat and I. I would toss it out, and it would come back. I tossed it out because I was trying to meditate, to get enlightened. But the cat kept returning. I was getting more and more irritated, more and more annoyed with the persistence of the cat. Finally, after about a half-hour of this coming in and tossing out, I had to surrender. There was nothing else to do. There was no way to block off the door. I sat there, the cat came back in, and it got on my lap. But I did not do anything. I just let go. Thirty seconds later the cat got up and walked out. So you see, our teachers come in many forms. -- Joseph Goldstein in Transforming the Mind, Healing the World from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book Some of life's most important lessons come from some of the most unlikely places. One such lesson is what the self-described philosophical entertainer Alan Watts called the "backwards law." A famous biblical example of this is the verse, "He who would save his soul shall lose it." Being the incurable cat lover than I am, I especially like the idea that cats can teach us this lesson.
My cat has taught me many lessons. But, mostly, he just sleeps.