Cats Hair, Irritation and Mindfulness Practice


Why that crazy cat! Get off of that chair I just covered it up! 

If you’ve ever had a cat, you know that wherever they go they leave a little trail of fur behind them everywhere. Which means that sometimes when you’d like to sit down your favorite chair has a lovely coating of cat hair on it. 

So perhaps, like me, you may have done things like put a towel down or a bedsheet over a chair so that you could sit down without getting your clothes covered in fur.

  

And then what happens? The first thing is that the cat goes and sits down in the exact place you’ve just covered up. Of course!

And perhaps, like me, the moment you see that happen you kind of want to holler at your cat. As if they were supposed to understand the whole problem of cat hair, chairs and clothing. 

It occurred to me this morning just how completely ridiculous that is. And how completely ridiculous I am for thinking that I could somehow hold the cat responsible for my irritation.

In fact, the real place to lay the blame for that irritation is firmly with myself. When I placed the sheet down, I’d sat down for a spell and then gotten up. I realized suddenly that if I had just picked the sheet up and folded back the problem would’ve been prevented. 

 When I realized that, I was able to pick up the cat, move the sheet, put the cat back down and have a good laugh. A little tiny change in perspective was able to shift my irritation into laughter. And that of course meant that the next moments immediately following this were much more likely to be fun ones.

Little moments of awareness like this are for me, at the heart of practice, what it’s all about. Small shifts in awareness, small shifts in perspective, that can reduce our suffering over things both large and small. It’s just easier to practice with the small things which makes it easier to work with the big things when they do hit.

Here by the way is the cat in question.  

 

   

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Author: Hillary Johnson

Improvisational documentary and fine art photographer.

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