I sat down to write a blog post and our cat arrived with his own version of inspiration. Purring. Begging for scritches behind his ears. Rubbing against my right hand as I tried to move the mouse. Pawing at the back space key and erasing two sentences. If I am going to write about remaining centered in all circumstances, the cat arrives to assure I personally practice what I advise. So, either I shut my writing down and toss the cat out the door, or I chill, thank him for his infectious “om” purring chant, and move the computer further away from him on the counter top. Yes, I KNOW he will just move over closer, but if I can just move it enough times so that he gets fed up with trailing after the moving computer, maybe he will give up? Sigh…
Oh yes, on my subject today of remaining centered during challenging situations …
1) Cats like meditation.
Tigger meditates frequently, sometimes adding a gentle kneading movement with his paws. Meditate regularly. Meditate without expecting purrfection. Meditation is a prime life practice. The outer world drama constantly pulls and tugs at us. We need a daily dose of cosmic connection to remind us of our true nature. Divine. Ever-expanding consciousness. Finding awareness and insights through experiences. Outer world drama mirrors our inner work. When we do the inner work, the outer begins to sort its self out. Life begins to purr.
2) Cats are proud of their reputation for maintaining balance.
They leap around life ready to do this at every opportunity. Decide now that you wish to remain centered and calm; to retain your sense of balance in all circumstances. Then simply begin to act that way. Act in a manner that works instead of reacting from triggered feelings. What specific actions does a calm person use when responding to situations? Whom do you admire that can serve as a role model in this area? Do they listen? Consider the other person’s point of view? Allow the other person to have a differing opinion? Pause before they speak? Do they seek the facts so they know what they are actually dealing with? Do they ask for time to think through before responding? Do they speak their truth calmly and politely without either flinching or attacking? Which of these actions will you chose to use? Yogananda said that life is a play and we are capable of acting any part we choose. Choose your role and play it well!
“It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking,
than to think your way into a new way of acting.”
– Millard Fuller, Habitat for Humanity founder.
3) Cats can instantly switch from frenetic running around attacking people’s legs and invisible objects, to hiding crouched behind a chair, to a relaxed mellow chill.
When a triggering situation occurs, instead of instant defensive attack or hiding, switch from your gut reaction to placing full attention on the breath. Take a slow, deep breath. Slowly and smoothly exhale completely. Repeat this until you gain composure. Create a mellow space within.
4) Cats know the value of visualizing.
After a good nap and purr, they gaze around with liquid eyes opening and closing in a slow rhythm as they muse upon possibilities. Sit down in a quiet, uninterrupted time. A good option is immediately following meditation. Visualize a situation that rattles your cage. Imagine yourself responding with confidence, calm, and assurance. Imagine the situation reaching a satisfactory conclusion. Practice this repetitively in your imagination. Studies have proven that visualized practice creates actual change. Cats know that a good visualization is real.
“A cat is a lion when in a jungle of small bushes.”
– Indian Proverb
5) Cats gaze around, looking for opportunities to respond, or not.
They can fool you into believing they are sitting quietly, but they are ever aware. Their ears turn, and eyes slightly open to notice what you want them to see, so they can ignore you. Every day for a week, you, too, can seek situations in which to express calm. (Of course you know that with this intention, the universe will offer many opportunities to practice!) If you usually get angry under pressure, what opposite behavior can you express? Patience? Listening? Zipping your lip? Seek to understand the other person’s point of view, even if you do not agree with it? At the end of the day, journal how you applied “calm” and the results you observed. Did it work? Is there another way you could have applied it? How will you apply it in a similar situation in the future? When did you NOT apply it? Why not? What held you back? In this way, you observe and learn from your practice. In time, you will notice your new “trait” creates more desirable outcomes. Now you are developing the skill of the “new” you. Focus on practicing at least one week, and then continue until it becomes easier, or until you are inspired to practice yet another chosen quality. In time, you easily express your new character.
6) You cannot control a cat.
You can work with it, but demanding it to be what you want it to be is fruitless. Neither are you the general manager of the universe. This is a great relief! You are not responsible to see that everyone else behaves the way you think they should. Sometimes, in interacting with the seven billion people who share this planet with you, you are bound to run into others who haven’t been trained by you. Their journey has been different. Their list of justification for their actions is as long as your list of why their actions are wrong. Allow them to follow their own road map while staying on your chosen path.
“Tis far easier to allow another his folly than to convince him of your own.”
– Voices from Life
Author note: Many friends inspire us in life. This article was instigated by Tigger, our beloved cat who eventually moved to the country with old family friends where he could lounge in a sunny garden and occasionally chases their dogs, Scooby and Hunter, in order to keep them all young at heart.
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