Maybe once in a lifetime, a great master comes into your life and completely changes the way you perceive things. In my case, it was the arrival of Zen Master Pluto into my life.
Now, Pluto is not your ordinary Zen master. Well, you see, Pluto is a cat. But he is also my Zen master because he has taught me several valuable lessons in life.
Pluto showed up at our door about ten years ago. My wife, being an animal lover, immediately adopted him into our domain.
It wasn’t long before Pluto became the ruler of the Kingdom of the Cats around our house. Pluto was a fearless leader and was not intimidated by any other cat and he never lost a fight. But, Pluto was also a very kind soul and loved to snuggle with the other cats.
Well, no one is immune to the ravages of time; be it man or cat. A couple of years ago, Pluto came down with a neurological condition that left him without control of his front paws. Pluto became bedridden.
Many people would have put their animal down at that point, but not my wife, who loves her animals to no end. We made a comfortable bed for Pluto on the floor and started taking care of him as necessities required.
Any ordinary being (cat or man) would normally slip into a state of despair over being in such a condition; not plute! (short for Pluto).
Pluto has the patience of Job. He is wide-awake most of the day and appears to be perfectly content with his situation.
He spends most of his day with his head tilted up, looking out into the distance.
What is life, so full
that one does not have time
to stop and stare
– Paraphrasing William Henry Davies, (c. 1911)
Perhaps he is living in Nirvana; running around as the king of his domain, as he did in his younger days when his body was young and strong.
In a way, I secretly envy Plute. I have spent years on the meditation mat and yet to achieve the level of focused awareness that he has found. Maybe it’s a cat thing. We have another cat named Keisha (Keeks for short) who can stare at a blank TV screen for hours at a time.
Merely walk by Pluto and he will break out into a loud purr.
It has dawned on me, how can a being that has so little be so contented when people who have so much more suffer so greatly?
Man stands in his own shadow
and wonders why it’s dark
– Zen Proverb
Pluto has become a living example of how one can remain contented in a world, that at times, appears to do its best to pull us down.
He has helped me to realize that things are perfect just the way they are. We don’t have to change anything to live a contented life. The only thing that needs to change is our belief that anything needs to change.
Contentment with little
brings great peace of mind
To this very day, you will be happy to know, Pluto is not only surviving but thriving. He may not be the cat that he used to be, but he has learned to adapt and even thrive!
We can all learn a great lesson from Zen Master Pluto.
Below are additional inspirations that remind me of my beloved Zen master
Everything that happens, happens as it should,
and if you observe carefully, you will find this to be so.
– Marcus Aurelius (121-180)
When you reach your limits;
nothing but blue sky.
It is eternity now. I am in the midst of it.
It is about me in the sunshine;
I am in it, as a butterfly is in the light-laden air.
Nothing has to come; it is now.
Now is eternity; now is the immortal life.
– Richard Jeffries (1848-1887)
Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods
but from a contented mind.
– Mohammed (570-632)
Copyright © 2019. Mark Ellison. All Rights Reserved
One thought on “Cats Make the Best Zen Masters”
Science says that we are animals too. But i just can’t accept it unless they say animals are actually humans because i just can’t keep ourselves at the same level. They are so much better than us in every aspect of life. I do not have any little friend but i would like to befriend a bird someday. Your humble tone of writing impressed me a lot. In particular, the quotes matched the theme very well. This post made my day. Thanks brother.