9 Things I’ve Learned From Cats
(One for each life)
Do you remember about twenty years ago there was a glut of self-help books, many of them with “Everything I Need To Know I Learned . . . “? One of them was in Kindergarten, I think. Then there was “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, too, and a bunch of others. I believe we can learn a lot from the animals, things we used to know and forgot when we became “civilized”. Here’s an example: for thousands of years eastern mystics sought to attain total consciousness. Well, animals already have that! I’ve had cats in my life since I was a toddler, so I’ve had more occasions to observe them, and they’ve taught me many useful things.
- Walk with your tail held high. Keep your head up. Affirm your dignity in all that you do. Your self-image is integral to who you are. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will, either. This includes keeping yourself clean and neat, and maintaining good posture. It also ensures that your energies are properly aligned, and that keeps you healthier.
- Keep your eyes wide open and your ears cocked; be alert. Any new movement or sudden sound could signal either danger or opportunity. Animals are always living in the now, and isn’t that all there really is?
- Stand your ground. Don’t compromise your core beliefs. Sometimes it may be necessary to negotiate, but this doesn’t mean backing down from your position. You may have to defend yourself against attack, which may involve scratching, biting, kicking, or even urinating on your opponent. In these cases the Marquis of Queensbury rules don’t apply.
- Material possessions are vastly over-rated. We all have too much stuff, as George Carlin used to say. The more stuff we have, the greater the stress it causes. And we’re tearing up the whole planet to make even more stuff. So I think we can all learn to live with less.
- Love unconditionally. Animals don’t have secret agendas in their affections for us, they just love without limits. It also feels good to rub up against the one you love, because even animals know it’s better to love than to be loved. This includes letting your love know you’ll always be there for them.
- Barring some dire emergency, you should avoid doctors whenever possible. Oh, I know you’re thinking, but what about check-ups and such? Fine. Go ahead, but keep in mind you are always taking a risk. Doctors like to poke you with sharp instruments, and they give you drugs without explaining the possible side-effects. Also, places you find doctors are bacteria traps. So stay away from them – – doctors can kill you.
- Take more naps. It’s your body’s way of telling you to back off, rest awhile. A mid-day nap helps make you more productive, and there’s scientific data which supports that. I realize this is difficult in the modern workplace; employers aren’t too keen on the idea. If you’re self-employed though, it’s no problem. It also relates peripherally to unions who fought so hard for coffee breaks and paid vacations. They improve productivity.
- Explore new territory. That may be as simple as taking a different route to or from work. It’s good for your soul to expose yourself to new stimuli, and it keeps you open to new possibilities.
- Play! Cats at play are the purest expression of pure joy. Recreation is proven to have many positive aspects. Laugh more. Humans are one of the few animals that laugh, but we don’t do it often enough. Play and laughter keep us young and more alive, and physical fitness keeps us healthier.
Animals are the very best people. Our relationships with, and attitudes towards them, tell us who we really are.