Living With a Zen Master

Often when I get up in the morning, just as I begin the routine of showering, dressing, and eating, I am halted by my Zen master.  He insists that I stop, and asks me to be mindfully aware of the moment.  He stretches his black, furry body and meows.

Yes, my beloved black cat, Clover, is my guru of calm.  He visits me in the morning and insists that I still my chattering mind to be present with him.  He calls me to the floor and meows quietly in my ear.  He rubs against me, rolls on his back, and gently invites me to be aware of just . . . this . . . moment.

I find that animals are masters of mindfulness.  They live in the now, in the present moment, with no worries and no judgment.  For me, this lesson is necessary over and over again.  Most of us race through our days, rushing with thoughts and projects, deadlines and activities.  And whether we are feeling delighted or stressed, we find it hard to just be present.

Living mindfully (alert and aware without judgment) is a skill we can cultivate.  It helps to have triggers during our day to remind us to pause and be still for a moment.  A trigger could be a ringing phone, a chirping bird or your first sip of coffee.  Or, if you’re lucky, you might have a Zen master to teach you with an insistent, persistent ‘meow.’

*I first read of a Cat described as ‘Zen master’ in Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth

Expcerpted from the Newsletter,

 “Still Waters:  Tools and Resources for Living Deeply”

Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW is the author of

Shortcuts to Inner Peace: 70 Paths to Everyday Serenity”


 “Transcending Loss:  Understanding the Lifelong Impact of Grief and How to Make it Meaningful”


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