Sunday, April 26, 2015

My New Cat and Cartoon Characters: On Being Patient

Sometimes these slogans confuse me at first. Other times, I get a pang of guilt because I suspect what it's trying to tell me. Today when I picked up the car, all I could do was sigh and laugh.
Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.
You see, I've got a new cat in my life, and he is SUCH a cat. Martin can be incredibly sweet, but he's also a whole long younger and way more rambunctious than Holly, my recently departed cat, ever was. When I picked Martin from the cats at the shelter, I was reacting from a place of grief. I got him maybe an hour after coming from the vet after being told it was time to let my old cat go. Perhaps I should have waited, but I needed the distraction from the deep well of sadness that accompanied the loss of Holly.

Martin is about 40% the sweetest cat ever, 60% the most bitingest-fightingest cat ever. It's not for nothing that I contemplated naming him Six (short for Project 626) for a short time before settling on Martin Fivebones.

Martin's role in my life has evolved to be an immediate external test of my patience. That's why, when I read the card with the newest tenet, all I could do was sigh and laugh. I immediately translated it to "Whichever of the two Martins occurs, be patient." Don't give up hope when it's Bitey-Fighty Martin, and don't get too involved when it's Purry-Furry Martin. But expanded to my entire life, my entire practice.

What I found at echoes that idea. The slightly different translation, "Whatever happens, good or bad, be patient," as well as the brief explanation provided:
"If things go well in your life, send your wellbeing to others. If things go badly, take on the misfortunes of others. In either case, don't get carried away by what arises."
Judy Lief's piece on the slogan is also an expansion of this idea. I know when things are rough I have a hard time finding the mental energy or space to send and receive, to sit zazen. I'm pretty good at it when things are going well in my life, but I'll admit that I have gotten "caught up in [my] own pleasure and [my] wish to maintain it."

Her ideas for working with this tenet are a bit longer term, so I need to start thinking about it right away:
"Notice the waxing and waning of your inspiration to practice mind training. What patterns do you see? What would be threatened if your practice were more steady and continuous?"
So, that's what I'll be working on. Until next time, namaste and all that.

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