Manoli is a few months old and weighs a bit less than my brain, but I often have the impression that he is considerably wiser than me. I even worry that I am slowly becoming his pet. He doesn’t speak, and only rarely miaous, but I find his general attitude to life quite inspiring.
**It’s okay to just be**
You don’t have to struggle too hard to do anything. You don’t even have to work. Not doing anything is in itself a form of doing something. Many things come to you, provided you wait for them in the right place. But how do you know which is the right place? That’s what ears and eyes and whiskers are for.
**Be warm to others and others will be warm to you**
If you’re warm and soft and don’t get in their way, they will return your warmth. They will give you their attention, and maybe even food and shelter. They will only scold you if you get between their legs and trip them. Or if you try to take from their table what’s not yours. There’s no need too worry too much about them or about what they think about you. What other people make of you is a story you tell yourself.
**You don’t need too much to feel good**
A bit of food, a little shelter, and someone to rub yourself against. That can be enough. A warm blanket on a rainy evening is the most wonderful thing in the world. Most other things are complications,. You can use them, sure, the way you use a toy mouse, but you don’t really need them.
**You need to play every day**
You can play with yourself and with things. Or you can play with other people. Once you start to play, they want to play, too. No day should be dull. You can make up your own games,. Everything around you wants to play. Even the trees and the wind-fluttered napkins.
**Eat like it’s the most important thing you’ll ever do**
When the bowl time comes, make eating the sole purpose of your life. Don’t talk while you eat and don’t think of other things. Don’t worry too much about how the food is served, either. What matters is the warm fullness that fills you But eat with moderation, always leaving something in your bowl for later. After you eat, rest. There’s no better thing to.
**When someone makes you happy, show it**
Purr. Nudge them with your head. Snuggle close to them. Tickle them with your whiskers. Love is in the small gestures.
**Don’t drink too much**
A bit of water now and then is more than enough.
**When someone annoys you, scratch**
They’ll leave you alone.
I will let Eckhart have the last word…
I have lived with many Zen masters – all of them cats.