There is no question that meditation is good for us: it helps us handle the stress of daily life, it has numerous health benefits, and it is a wonderful way to get in touch with our true spiritual nature. In fact, there is so much evidence that meditation is good for you that it seems like meditation should be as much a part of our daily lives as breathing.
Once you’ve established a daily meditation practice, you can’t imagine not having it in your life, but until you get there, the thought of daily mediation seems to bring out a long list of excuses for most people. “I don’t have the time.” “I don’t know how.” “I can’t sit still.” You don’t have to meditate for hours to gain benefits from mediation. Even a 5 minute mini meditation can make a difference. Gradually increase the time. Ideally you want to meditate at least 20 minutes a day.
If you need inspiration to get started with a meditation practice, look to your cats! Cats are natural meditators. What else do you think they’re doing when they’re sitting with their paws curled under, their gazes soft, and not a care in the world?
I try to meditate for at least 10 minutes a day, usually in the morning, after I have breakfast and get dressed, and before I sit down to get my work day started. I tried meditating first thing in the morning (after I feed Allegra and Ruby, of course,) but I found that it’s almost impossible for me to even try to shut down my mind before I’ve at least checked the email and blog comments that have come in overnight. Instead of fighting it, I just found a time that works better for me.
Most mornings, Allegra and Ruby “participate” in my mediation practice. And while in theory, meditating with your cat sounds like a wonderful thing, the reality for us sometimes looks a little different. Some mornings, they’re both very zen about the whole thing and either sit by my side, or on the window perch behind my meditation chair. Other mornings, things get a little more interesting, and my meditation gets disrupted by one or more of the following:
- Allegra brings her favorite toy into the room, complete with a soundtrack of chirps and trills.
- Ruby climbs up on my lap and tries to get comfortable. Since I meditate in a cross-legged position, she’s not thrilled with the odd shape of my lap, and it requires much maneuvering before she can find the purr-fect spot.
- Allegra sits on the arm of my chair, and leans into me and rubs her face against mine. Do I care that this completely breaks my focus? You bet I don’t. It’s such a precious moment, I just go with it and enjoy it.
- Ruby sits on the window perch behind me and chatters at the birds. Highly distracting, but how could I not smile at that sound!
None of these “distractions” will make me give up on meditating – I simply continue to sit for the amount of time I’ve committed to. There was only one time when I interrupted my meditation for a feline distraction: Allegra sat on the back of the chair behind me. By the time I heard the tell tale heaving sound, it was too late: she had projectile vomited all over my back… She occasionally vomits after eating too fast, so I wasn’t too worried about her, but I just couldn’t continue to sit with – well, you get the picture.
Most mediation instructions will tell you to find a quiet space away from any interruptions, and I would bet that most meditation teachers would consider cats a distraction. Since I would never consider banning the girls from being in the same space I’m in, I’ve learned to meditate despite some feline challenges.
Do you meditate with your cats?