Review: Choosing to Be

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The benefits of meditation are endless: from helping us handle stress better to getting in touch with our true spiritual nature, meditation has been proven to make our lives better. And if you need more inspiration to get started, look to your cats! Cats are natural meditators. What else could they possibly be doing when they’re sitting with their paws curled under, their gazes soft, and not a care in the world? In Choosing to Be: Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master, Kat Tansey shares a deeply personal account of how a wise Maine Coon cat and his kitten sidekick helped her heal from deep depression.

When Tansey had to give up her high-powered corporate job due to a chronic illness, she became increasingly depressed. On one particular morning, when thoughts of having to continue to live in a debilitating state battled with increasingly compelling thoughts of suicide, she came across a copy of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, a spiritual classic and the ultimate introduction to Tibetan Buddhist wisdom. Intrigued, she decided she needed to “discuss this at length with someone wiser than myself,” her Maine Coon Poohbear. “Pooh and I had a long history of dialoguing, and I had learned much from the words of wisdom from his bewhiskered cat mouth.”

The book takes the reader on a fascinating, sometimes challenging, sometimes humorous journey as we follow the author from depression to the clarity of the Buddha mind, with the assistance of the wise Poohbear and kitten Catzenbear, who may not have the older cat’s wisdom, but who teaches Tansey by simply being a kitten.

This book offers both an introduction to meditation and its many benefits as well as the challenges that come with beginning and maintaining a practice in the face of large and small obstacles. Beautifully written and sometimes almost painfully honest, this book makes the case for why it’s so important to simply be rather than continuously do. If you’re new to Buddhism, this book will introduce you to the concepts in an easily accessible, cat-centric way. If you’re already familiar with Buddist principles, it will serve as a wonderful refresher and inspiration to deepen your own practice.

Choosing to Be is available from Amazon.

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*The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon and affiliated sites. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves. I received this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

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