The Cat Ate my Prayer Beads: A Lesson on Mindful Living

by P. Braithwaite

So I’ve started meditating again, but my approach this time has been more compassionate. Rather than making it some chore that must be done under the perfect conditions, I now start by allowing myself to come to the practice as I am: stressed, irritable, angry, tired, PMS-ing…etc. This has helped me exponentially because now it is difficult to find reasons to NOT do it. It’s not about achieving some end — it’s more about giving myself some permission to just “be.”

Everyone deserves the right to just “be.”

Anyway, I was meditating yesterday with my prayer malas (think really big Buddhist rosary beads) and my roommate, the cat, attacked my beads. He would inch closer and closer until he was close enough to wrap his little claws around one of the beads and push them into his mouth. He did this several times, but each time (though I suppose he was “interrupting” my meditation) I smiled lovingly at him and pulled the beads out of his mouth. I cooed at him a few times, but I was generally unaffected.

By the end of my meditation, I thought: there’s a spiritual lesson here…I just don’t know what it is. And with that thought, of course, the universe organized itself to clue me in.I got up from my meditation and went about having one of the most stressful and anxiety-ridden days of my life.

Today (a new and better day) I think I get the lesson: anything (and I mean anything) that pulls us away from mindfulness (peace/inner joy) should be looked upon as a playful kitten who, though curious and maybe even annoying, is essentially harmless to your soul’s journey. If I can look at all potentially threatening things and people as sweet misguided kittens instead of entities to be feared….life might become one long meditative practice. I could react from a place of love instead of fear (i.e. restraining orders, police reports, weapons, anxiety attacks, outburts, etc.)

Thing about it: We could all just move through life fingering our prayer beads without getting caught up in ego-driven fear and drama. How awesome would that be?

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