I have always been a dog man.
What amazed me about the two Airedale terriers in my life was that if the water board or electricity company came around to read their meters, or the postman came around to deliver a parcel, they would jump up, wag their tails and get excited.
If a butterfly or bird came over the fence, they would bark as if we were being invaded by Martians.
I tried to explain the duties of being 'on guard': you bark at humans and you chase butterflies and birds.
Somehow they always got it the other way around.
David Michie, author of the Dalai Lama's Cat series, seems to have a lot more luck in getting sense out of cats than I did with dogs. Here's something seen through the eyes of a cat.
3 Reasons why you should practice The Power of Meow
Here are some life-enhancing morsels about the importance of mindfulness which the Dalai Lama's Cat is happy to share from her latest book, The Power of Meow.
- Focusing your attention on the present moment is powerful because now is the only time you can ever be happy. Neuroscientists call it 'direct' mode when we pay attention to what we are seeing, hearing and tasting, as opposed to 'narrative' mode when we pay attention to our inner thoughts. Both clinical research and personal experience show that when we are in direct mode we are far more likely to be happy.
- We can learn to practice mindfulness in relation to many different things. One of the most life-changing is mindfulness of thoughts. Learning to observe our thoughts, rather than become automatically absorbed by them, gives us a tremendous power. We come to see our thoughts merely as thoughts, not as facts or truths. We get better at letting go of them. We stop beating ourselves up about that mouse we once hunted, or believing that some incident that happened to us in kitten-hood must permanently blight our life. We are able to be more self-accepting. Instead of being victims of our thoughts, we become their observers.
- Only by direct experience can we know the true nature of our own mind. Practising mindfulness, we discover that our thoughts are not the only manifestations of consciousness. Like waves emerging from the surface of mind, when we abide in our oceanic nature we find it to be boundless, lucid, tranquil and benevolent. We have come home.