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  • Writer's pictureHeather Cowie

Cats can teach meditation

Maybe you knew this already, but I only discovered this week that cats are fantastic meditation teachers. What do I mean by that? Well let me tell you.

Meditation and mindfulness are words often cited as essential for mental health. 

To be honest my relationship with these practices is somewhat mixed. At times wonderful but at others frustrating. And I feel like social media can present them as a cure all, for all mental health problems but that's maybe a post for another day.

Anyway I did take some time to sit down and meditate this week. I have various apps and I settled down to listen to a guided meditation. And this meditation was inviting me to open my eyes and focus on something in the room, something I don’t normally focus on. Just something simple like a plant. Really look at it and notice it - all the details of it. And there I was all ready to focus on something in the here and now when my cat comes to sit on my lap wanting fusses. I started to get distracted and annoyed. “Go away cat can’t you see I’m trying to meditate! I’m trying to find something in this room to focus on and you’re in the way”. But she was insistent and of course as her staff I must do her bidding, so I acquiesced.  And as I started to pet her it dawned on me that at the very moment I was searching for an object to focus on, one had arrived right in my lap and I had ignored it. So I continued my meditation with my cat and I started to really focus on her beautiful silky fur and the way her ears have this odd colouration inside them and the markings of her tortoiseshell fur. 

So the lesson I learnt is meditation can be any way that fits you. It doesn’t have to be formal where you sit crossed legged for 20 mins in a quiet room focusing on your breath (although of course that’s not a bad thing!) 

We can all just take moments in the day to pause and reconnect to the world around us or to our internal world. Stop, take a big breath out, notice a sound or a sight around you or a feeling inside you and disconnect from your to do lists to just be for a moment. Whether that’s staring at a plant or stroking a cat. 

I also learnt that sometimes the answers are right there if we would only notice them. We can ignore things because our mind is fixed in a certain direction. So taking a step back can help, something that counselling can help you to do.

I also was reminded how much I love my cat 💕

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