First of all, just like there’s all sorts of different cats, there’s all sorts of different thoughts...
- There’s the thoughts that like to cuddle in our lap and purr and make us feel all warm and cozy
the thoughts that we feed, brush, pet, talk to, talk about, and take pictures of, as we diligently and sometimes obsessively take care of them
There’s the thoughts
that we don’t want to move, lest we disturb them, and so we stay all cramped up, waiting for them to eventually stir awake
There’s the thoughts that start
out with a gentle purr, then unexpectedly scratch us
There’s the thoughts that affectionately and funnily rub up against our ankles, sometimes tripping us up when
we’re not looking
There’s the thoughts that aren’t sure whether they want to go inside or outside, so they just wait at the open door while we often
impatiently wait for their decision
There’s the thoughts that playfully pounce, making us smile and laugh
There’s the thoughts that drop a live mouse on the kitchen floor, sending us into freak-out mode
There’s the thoughts that bring
up hairballs onto the carpet, making us disgusted and exasperated
Shall I go on?
And just like cats, we don’t know which particular thought will appear in our head, or when it will appear, or what mood it will be
in. We don’t pick up and place each fuzzy little ball of thought into our head. Instead, they just stroll into the room of our mind with absolutely no effort by us… Sometimes as a gentle tap on the nose to wake up, or sometimes as a howling meow
of attention. And with no conscious effort, we sometimes notice them and sometimes don’t, we sometimes pay attention to them and sometimes don’t.
And just like cats, our thoughts are constantly changing their behaviour, from fuzzy to fierce, then back to fuzzy again.
And just like cats, our thoughts rarely (if ever) do as we tell them to. In fact, the more we try to control them, the more they behave with complete defiance. Just like cats, the nature of
our thoughts are to be independent. And although there may be a little bit of predictability in their behaviour, for the most part, they just do what they do, when they want to do it, oblivious to our particular wishes. Our role then instead, is mostly left
to navigating with whatever appears.
And just like cats, whenever we freely and gently allow
our thoughts to do what they were designed to do, and don’t get too caught up on whatever that is, they tend to respond more in kind, showing us their appreciation with a little more love, and a little less craziness.
And just like cats, we can guide or focus our thoughts in a particular direction, letting them out into the yard, or corralling them
in a room, but we don’t have any control whatsoever on what they do once they’re in there. And when we do try to control them, the amount of energy we spend is often not that productive.
And just like cats, the behaviour of our thoughts is often relative to the environment they’re in… they will tend to explore and play when
they’re in a garden of grass, they will tend to stretch out and relax when they’re on a comfy chair in the sun, and they will tend to eat when there’s a bowl of food placed in front of them. However, whatever the related behaviour of thought,
at some point it ALWAYS changes, and it can do so in any instant.
Changing and controlling
our thinking? Well, it’s actually like herding cats. We can certainly try, but it is terribly exhausting and stressful, and requires 24/7 diligence. As soon as we drop our attention, they’re off again doing whatever they want to do.
So maybe if cats are mostly designed to take care of themselves without much interference or “assistance”
by us, perfectly capable of responding to whatever appears in whatever way occurs to them in the moment, and responding to us in a kinder/gentler way whenever we embrace them and love them, regardless of their temporary moments of craziness, maybe our thoughts
are designed to automatically work that way too?
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