This morning's meditation practice was full.  Not in that it was rich with wisdom or enlightenment but the room I sit in was full.  Joining me on this fine rainy morning were my three cats and Border Collie, Edo.  Normally, when I go in the room to sit, I look at the dog sitting outside the door as I slowly close it making sure he does not want to come in.  He usually prefers guarding it from the outside while I am in there.  He came in today because he was following one of the cats who dashed in all frisky like.  Already in the room was my oldest cat, who is a big yellow tabby.  He was ahead of me in starting meditation and all curled up in the easy chair.  I proceeded to sit down on my cushion and begin when in came the third cat.  "This ought to be interesting" I thought.  I do love a challenge in my practice of sitting with chaos going on around me, so here it was.

My cat Percy, who is only 6 months old and his sister Phillis were tooling around the room as I began focusing on my breath.  My practice today was going to be one of concentration and stilling the body, visualizing it as a light white body as I imagined the Buddha in front of me.  Concentration practices are tough for me so adding the distraction of silly kittens, a curious dog and an old purring tiger (sounds like the name for an old Asian folk tale character) I had my work cut out for me.  I love a challenge.

I am breathing, I am breathing, I am saying my mantra, I am becoming still, I hear loud purring and scuffling around behind the chair.  I think Phillis is attacking the old tiger.  Ra is his name.  He gives a hiss, then I hear nothing.  I am breathing, visualizing the light in my body, becoming still.  Edo flops down next to me as Percy treads the blanket I have on my lap.  Tread, tread, purr, purr, I am breathing, focusing on the stillness.  I begin to visualize sending white light to the animals.  I breath in, I breath out white light to them.  Calming, becoming still.  Phillis has quieted down.  I can't help but peek to see if she was able to lay next to Ra.  The kittens always try but he is too grumpy to be bothered.  She has ended up on the back of the big easy chair and he is in the seat.  Close enough.  Percy has settled down in my lap and Edo is snoring beside me.  Ah, we have calm.  We are breathing, we are breathing.  It was so interesting that when I just sat there very still, the beasts around me (and in me) began to calm down too.

Isn't that just a great metaphor for life? Am I using that word right?  Anyway, it just got me thinking about how if I tried that more often when I am off the cushion too, than maybe all things would calm down around me.  I mean let's face it; half the chaos is in our own mind anyway.  We could be sitting still and something as simple as a car horn beeps and we go off on a thinking tangent.   "Wow, that was loud!  I wonder who did that?  Probably some jerk who is annoyed at the world.  They probably have some fancy car.  I need a new car.  My car is so crappy, I hate it.  Man I am broke.  Maybe I need a new job.... ALL FROM A CAR HORN!

So, as I get up from my cushion this morning with a feeling of stillness within me and lightness in my body, I try to carry it in to my day.  When I hear a noise that is alarming, I just call it noise.  I try not to let myself get carried away with thoughts and just hear the noise.  I try not to react but just be with what is happening.  I can do this if I stay still inside even when there is chaos around me.  Maybe if the cats and dog continue to meditate with me, they will be able to see the vacuum as just the vacuum and not as a big noisy beast that is coming to eat them. They will be able to be one with the vacuum. Or in the dog's case, he will stop biting it as the vacuum comes towards and away from him in such a playful manner.  I doubt it!  He is a dog.  Sheesh.  No peace.... unless I stay calm and still and see the dog as being a dog.  That's just what he does.  Good luck and give it a try.  Just you and all your pets.