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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Death, Cats, and Meditation

Gloria was a precise woman, which is an important trait in an accountant. She was fastidious as well. Whenever she erased a book keeping entry, she would rise up from her desk, gingerly tilt her leger over the trash can, and carefully dump her erasing’s, mindful not to spill any on the floor.

The way we do one thing, is often the way we do many things, and Gloria lived for precision, and organization, and schedule and consistency. But life is messy and often pays no heed to our preferences. One of life’s emissaries of chaos was Gloria’s cat Rudolf. And although he was destructive and unpredictable Gloria loved him so. Which made it all the more disruptive when he died.

Her tears shed, the veterinarian paid, and Rudolf buried; Gloria thought she had turned the page, closing that chapter of her life. But the following morning, as she got out of bed at the usual time, and sat to meditate in the usual place, she could NOT replicate the usual experience. As mantras and peace had been replaced with weeping and grief.

Sorrow is NOT a pathology, and meditation could be many things. What if we pretended that we did NOT have to concentrate upon our breath? That instead we could gently harmonize with it: weeping, or lamenting, or recalling, or resting in time with its coming and going.

Breathing is natural and does not have to be forced. We are already wired to notice it, and coordinate with it. All we have to do is let go of our expectations, and control, and schedules. Doing so, to paraphrase Obi Wan, you could find you have taken your first steps into a much larger world.

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