spirituality

Fluffy Little Monks Lesson One: Authenticity

“I have lived with several Zen masters — all of them cats.” Eckhart Tolle

 

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Have you ever noticed how cats like to sit back and observe the world around them? They are experts in surveillance and silence. They make their way through the world at their own pace – unhurried and unconcerned; true to themselves and to their nature. Cats do not compromise who they are in order to conform to what others think they should be; you will never see a cat pretending to be anything other than a cat. While this may be frustrating for the cat’s owner/slave,   I’m fairly confident it’s one of the main reasons so many of us find these fluffy little monks so appealing. After all, who could resist a creature living its life so authentically?

So why do we find this authenticity so appealing in our feline friends, and yet so difficult to live out in our own lives? Why do we admire their monk-like peace and yet seldom take the time to emulate it?

When was the last time you were satisfied with just being yourself; no pretense or play-acting?

When was the last time you found a nice, warm, comfortable spot, and just sat and watched the world go by; ignoring the urge to do and simply be satisfied to be?

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If your answer was: not nearly enough; then why not start today? Embrace your inner fluffy monk – know that who you are is good enough – find a quiet comfy spot and just be for a while.

Karen Mulvey

 

 

 

 

 

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Catvent: It’s Advent with Cats! Day 2

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Have you ever noticed that cats are never busy, and always seem to be navel gazing? Or at least they would if they had navels. Anyway, I’ve noticed and I believe it’s an amirable trait.

Cats know how to simply be.

Unlike us humans, who can get so caught up with doing “stuff” that we can often miss the miracle. I think that might have happened to the innkeeper all those years ago in Bethlehem on that very first Christmas. The bible tells us that there was no room at the inn. Hardly surprising really, when you think that people would have been flooding in for the census.

That innkeeper had an opportunity to welcome the son of God into his inn, but because of all the crowds and hustle he just didn’t have room in his busy life, or his inn.

I wonder how many times I’ve missed the divine because I’ve been too busy doing “stuff”? I wonder how many encounters with the Son that I have missed, because my schedule has been too full? Perhaps like the innkeeper, the miracle has been right under my nose?

And so the son of God was welcomed into the world he’d created not by the innkeeper and his guests, but by simple animals, animals who know how to just be – I like to think there were even a couple of cats present.

So as we all hustle and bustle our way through December, it is my prayer for you that you will not be so wrapped up in the mundane, that you miss the miracle of Christmas.

 

 The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. John 1:14 (The Message)

Catvent: It’s Advent with Cats! Day 1

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I often act as if I have no need of you,

You enfold me in your arms, I struggle free.

Your overtures of love are met with coldness,

In spite of all of this you still love me.

 

When I’m scared you’re always there beside me

Watching over me throughout the longest night.

Your love is right there waiting when I need it

The darkness overwhelmed by your light.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those cat ladies – you know, the crazy kind – who likes to speak to my cat and then answer in his voice. So when I wrote this poem about Lestat’s relationship with me, I was kind of surprised when I realised just how much his relationship with me, parallels my relationship with God. It’s a sobering thought, particularly as we are entering the Christmas season and I contemplate the enormity of the gift that God gave us.

At this most special time of year, I am once again reminded of God’s incredible, unfathomable love. A love so all-encompassing that the king of heaven was prepared to put aside everything, in order to walk the same dusty, dirty road of life that we do. Imagine that for a moment. It’s pretty incredible isn’t it? As I sit and watch Lestat stare open mouthed at the sight of a bird on the wing, I am reminded of the words of the Psalmist:

I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?*  and I realise that my jaw has also dropped in amazment.

photo(10)Psalm 8:3-4 (The Message)

Your View Is Up To You

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All you need to do to change your day is change your perspective.

 

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8-9 (The Message)

Crazy Love for Crazy Cat Lovers

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Loving a cat is hard work – have you noticed that? When you want to cuddle, they don’t; when you want to sleep, they’re wide awake; when you want to play, they get all bitey. At least that’s how it is with my cats, and yet I continue to persist – my love undimmed and my spirit undaunted. I am always there for them – even when they’d prefer I wasn’t; my watchful eye is always on them – even when they think I can’t see them.

It’s like the way God watches over you and I – he is always there – infinitely gracious, loving us with a love so outrageous we simply cannot comprehend it. A love so far removed from our human experience that many have difficulty believing such a love could even exist. Fortunately for you and I the reality of God’s love does not require our belief or our understanding – it just is. From the very beginning of time he knew you, he saw you and he loved you – he still does and he always will.

People often think that cat lovers like you and I are just a little bit odd; they can’t understand how or why we could possibly love a creature that is independant and aloof, but we can and we do – and so does God.

Can I go anywhere apart from Your Spirit?
    Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence?

If I go up into heaven, You are there.
    If I make my bed in the realm of the dead, You are there.
If I ride on the wings of morning,
    if I make my home in the most isolated part of the ocean,
10 Even then You will be there to guide me;
    Your right hand will embrace me, for You are always there.
11 Even if I am afraid and think to myself, “There is no doubt that the darkness will swallow me,
    the light around me will soon be turned to night,”
12 You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.
    For You the night is just as bright as the day.
    Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.

Psalm 139:7-12 (The Voice)

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A Cat’s Reflection

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Thank you for your love even when I am forgetful of that love

Thank you that I’m cared for even when I am ungrateful

Thank you that my pride doesn’t keep you at arm’s length

Thank you that you are with me through all the days of my life

Amen