Today, I prayed downstairs, on my knees in the living room. The cat was in the mood for morning affection and was winding round me, rubbing her face against me and rolling on her back for a tummy rub. In the face of this furry temptation, I stood firm, steadfastly continuing with my prayer. I asked God to reveal himself to me and spent some time being thankful for the good things in my life. Including the furry temptation.
After the prayer, I tried to settle into a listening, meditative state, but the cat really wasn't having it. She was working that cuteness to unignorable levels. So I gave her a stroke and decided to direct my meditation towards her.
She came to me for a stroke, went over to her bowl to chow down a few biscuits, back to me, over to the window to look out on the garden, then back to me. She was happy doing her thing completely unselfconsciously, without worrying about the meaning of her actions or her life. (Or at least, if she was, it was not readily apparent.)
I can be so laden down with the significance of my life and my desire to make a difference. Yet this little animal makes such a difference to my life without trying, simply by being herself. I started laughing. Within 70 years I'll be dead and the chances of anyone remembering me in 150 years are close to zero, and here I am worrying about my to-do list* and how to change the world. I laughed some more. Perhaps I make a difference just by being myself and should lighten the hell up.
I guess I got my lesson for today.
This is not to say that I think dealing with injustice is unimportant or that I should lie back and do nothing, because one day I'll die. But sometimes it's good for me to zoom out and get a better perspective on my life. As Bill Hicks said: "It's just a ride."
*Currently written on five toilet rolls