On my desk in the office I have this post card that reads “Mindfulness is a source of happiness”. I’ve found it on one of my business trips to Munich, when I was going out of the cafeteria after having lunch and rushing into some meetings and it caught my attention, made me stop for a second from my “gold rush”. Well I myself have never been good at mindful living, and have thought that maybe having something constantly in front of my eyes to remind me to just stop and realize what I am doing and the reason I am doing it might help. Not sure it actually did 🙂
Coming back to the title of this post, I’m not sure if Dalai Lama actually has a cat, but in my mind, he does. And the cat is actually very smart. I like her. The two of us are so very similar. Hmmm, maybe that’s why I like her so much.
If you haven’t realized yet, I am talking about David Michie’s book “The Dalai Lama’s Cat”. I have received the book from a friend some time ago and I’ve read it during a yoga trip in Italy, since I thought the two might go very well together. And they did. But the book might go well in any circumstance.
I looooved the story, because, well, first of all I love cats and second of all, in its simple and funny manner of writing it made me stop and think about some deep things. It’s interesting how the author chose a cat to be the center character of this book, since everyone knows how cats are: selfish, gourmand, suffer from attention deficit, and basically like to be the center of the universe and the “masters of puppets”.
But this particular cat (yes, I am talking also about me), has learned so many things from the great Dalai Lama, and not only. “Everycat” who aspires to being a “bodhicatva”, is taken through a spiritual and self-discovery trip, being given the possibility of moving back and forth between two worlds: the Buddhist monastery world where people focus at every moment on the small things that make life what it is, and the “outside” world of a restaurant where people have a whole different approach to life, focusing more on other places or things than on the present moment and what it has to offer.
The Snow Lion made me see myself from the outside, I felt like I was the one sitting there at the table, in that gorgeous restaurant, with all that variety of high-class food in front of me, not paying any attention what so ever to that, but with my nose deep in the telephone looking for other ways of spending future time. And it made me sad. It made me sad because I see how I don’t appreciate what I have now and I have never done it.
His Holiness’s Cat learns also that you should never judge a book by its cover, because once you open the book you will see that what you find inside it’s very different from what you thought, but you need to take the time and open it.
Even if you know all these lessons, it actually takes time and experience to internalize them and to act in consequence. I’m not proud to say that I haven’t done so much progress in this regard, but I am proud to say I am working on this. And this is it, in my opinion, while we live we learn and we just need to be open to anything and everything (almost), and travel made me a better person. I might still have a long way to go, but hey, I’m taking it one step at a time.