Archive for the ‘Zen Kitty’ Category

Time spent on one’s meditation cushion is time well spent, whether or not you feel the benefits immediately or not.

Many people claim that they can’t meditate. Their mind will not become still and they are invaded with constant, relentless thoughts, not the feelings of peace and serenity they have been promised.

The point they are missing however is that meditation is about being with what is, not about being calm or blissful, though these may indeed be the end products of sustained practice. There is no goal as such, but were there one it would be just to be aware. This is, that is, mind is busy, mind is calm.

When the state of awareness is recognised as the state in which all things arise then the calm we originally sought is a natural result of this realisation. It isn’t something we can chase or make happen however, accustomed as we are to active pursuit of all that we seek.

This is something cats know well and much of our time is spent in simple mindfulness of the breath, our meditation cushion, or the sensation of a sunbeam.

Just for this moment allow whatever is present to be present, even if it is something you wish were not. Just allow things to be as they are.

Even to say ‘just be’ creates the illusion that you must do something. You are, that is enough. For this moment it is enough. Then perhaps for the next one it will be too.

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Many people say that laughter is the best medicine and modern research has found that this is indeed the case. Laughter helps to lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, improve respiration and even increase memory.

‘A good laugh is sunshine in the house.’

William Makepeace Thackery

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Contrary to popular belief, we zen kitties do enjoy books, especially lying on them while the humans are attempting to read. Though they get grumpy about it, we are actually doing them a great service as most books tend to fill their minds with yet more concepts and ideas. Our presence can be just the thing to jolt them back into the present moment of awareness.

Perusing my library

Recently however I allowed them to continue their evening reading unmolested as I was pleasantly surprised to find them enjoying this book.

Written by Eckhart Tolle it’s a celebration of the simplicity, love and simple reminders to be where you are now that we animals so selflessly gift to our human friends.

There are a few too many dogs in it for my liking but the author obviously knows what he is talking about, quite unusual for a human I must say.

I recommend everyone read it and feel suitably humbled in the presence of their animal companions.

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Humans often have a very different idea from we Zen Kitties as to what constitutes success. They like to accumulate – possessions, trophies, medals, accolades, money, titles and so on and so on – where as we like to experience the wonder of each moment as it arises without any attachment or expectation (except of course, where biscuits are concerned.)

By human standards you might consider my life something of a failure. After all, I achieve little in the material sense and I am still that chubby ginger kitten with a bad leg who, once upon a time, nobody wanted. But I enjoy my life as a rich tapestry of experiences and few could claim to be as adored as I am now.

In fact, I consider myself to be the greatest success of all and perhaps you could also begin to think of yourself as such, no matter what anyone else might say.

“Just stop for a moment and turn your attention to life–whether it’s a good life, a bad life, a successful life, or a failure of a life. Life… Just the wonder of that can obliterate all of the dishonoring of it in an instant. In this instant.”   Ganga-ji

Wishing you all a splendidly, successfully open and present New Year!

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Zen Kitties know there is a big difference between pain and suffering.

Pain may be unavoidable in life as we will all experience discomfort, sickness, losses and accidents at some point. Much as we try, we cannot control every facet of our existence at all times.


What we can control however is how much of this pain we turn into suffering. Suffering is what happens when our mind takes hold of the pain we experience and turns it over and over, creating anxiety, restlessness, turmoil, insomnia, depression and any number of other ills.

The Zen mind allows everything to be just as it is. Even in experiencing pain we are free because we allow it to come and go without struggle.

Then we can get back to the much more important business of chilling out.

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A whole year has rolled round since Zen Kitty’s last autumn retreat, once again leaving me, Witch’s Kitty, to wish you a happy Samhain.

Whilst Zen Kitty spends most of her time reclining in meditative equipoise, we familiars have a busier life, ensuring that the Hawthorn syrup doesn’t bubble over, that the chamomile tea is perfectly brewed and observing the humans’ haphazard gardening attempts with a disapproving eye.

Above all though, our task is to remind them continually about the whisper of magic that underpins all life, from the quivering leaves, to the scurrying squirrel to the sound of their heartbeats as I lie on their chests in the early morning. Humans tend to believe that magic is something they do, another thing to control in this, at times frighteningly confusing, life. But we know, and serve as constant reminders to them, that magic is what you are, not what you do. It is the very fabric that you are woven from and you can no more be apart from it than you can from your own breath.

Remember this as the Celtic year draws to a close and the New Year begins, first with the darkness of winter when we sow our intents and wishes, then into the brightness of spring, when all things burst forth in wonderment.

Wishing you a most magical and happy Hallowe’en!

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The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white.
Neither need you do anything but be yourself.

One of the many things we Zen Kitties have mastered is the simplest act of being ourselves. Whilst humans spend a vast amount of time and energy creating a persona that they call ‘themselves’ and continually affirming it, making it better, berating its faults or comparing it to the personas of others, we put our efforts into being exactly as we are. Which in fact, amounts to very little effort at all.

If you happen to have some time on your hands today I suggest you stop using it to create a character that doesn’t really exist anyway and spend it embracing yourself as the open awareness you really are. Then, however you appear, you will be a reflection of truth.

Life will be infinitely more interesting as a result.

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No matter how well we manage our affairs, how diligently we practice the art of divine manifestation, Zen Kitties know that life will always have its ups and downs. That is why cultivating equanimity is the best way to achieve a harmonious life.

The only thing we can be sure of in life is the inevitability of change, happy today, sad tomorrow, laughing again the next day. Only a balanced mind can let all these states be as they are without attachment or aversion.

For example, yesterday I found myself in the lap of luxury.

And today at the bottom of the heap once more.

Who knows what tomorrow may bring?

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The Buddha was asked, “What do you and your disciples practice?” He replied, “We sit, we walk and we eat.”

The man continued, “But sir, everyone sits, walks and eats.”

The Buddha told him, “When we sit we know we are sitting. When we walk, we know we are walking. When we eat we know we are eating.”

Awareness of sitting.

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Buddhism has no room for special effort,
Just be ordinary and nothing special.
Eat and drink, then move your bowels and pass water,
And when you’re tired, go to sleep.
Fools will find me ridiculous, but the wise will understand.

Lin Chi

The Wise

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