My cat Eve is good at yoga but bad at meditation.
When I’m doing the downward dog on the lawn she generally performs an upward cat. Like this.
Actually that’s my other cat Ruby upward catting here. They can both do it. It’s cave man and beast in harmony, refined through centuries to this moment of synchronicity on the lawn. All it needs is Attenborough hovering and whispering from a helicopter overhead and it’s a TV program. Don’t miss it. The camera loves Eve. Black fur. Green eyes. Grey whiskers. Sharp claws. Purrrrr.
Instead of hunting dinosaurs these days Eve eats food out of small, expensive tins. Sometimes. Sometimes for no apparent reason she chooses not to eat it. As a now civilised caveman I choose not to club her to death, though I’m tempted. Roasted over an open fire she could feed a family of four. For a week.
So yoga works pretty well. Sometimes Eve interrupts my salute to the sun wondering why I’ve stopped saluting her. Sometimes during a forward stretch she jumps up onto my back and settles with claws locked into my t-shirt. We both know in this pose it’s impossible for me to remove her without real tears and mock meowing.
After yoga my back often looks like something out of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It’s physical and it hurts. Eve loves it.
But she can’t meditate.
When I sit comfortably, facing West, palms up, breathing in, breathing out, eyes closed, mind loosely focussed, she jumps all over me. She meows and whinges and rubs her arse in my face. She sits in my lap and pretends to fall off, then actually falls off. She jumps back on and gently puts a paw of claws to the side of my face.
‘Are you awake? Alive? Have you noticed that I’m here?’
Breathe in. Breathe out.
She falls off again, dramatically, meowing like she’s been shot.
Breathe in. Breathe out. My heart rate is now about 170bpm. I’m not sure whether to get into an F1 racing car or an ambulance.
It’s not meditation it’s theatre without an audience. Or torture. Birds drink at the bird bath. Aeroplanes come in to land. My meditative mind could normally accommodate this but Eve claws back up and rubs her tail in my face and falls off again. She scratches my leg.
That’s it! It’s over. I don’t love her any more.
Yes I do.
Her version of meditation is sleeping in the sun without hindrance. She’s not bothered about awareness of breathing. She snores like an old man.
‘Snoring is not a deeper level of meditation,’ I shout at her. ‘You’re just asleep!’
And so she is. Deeply, easily, completely.
I should prod her with a stick. Or club her to death.
I’m shouting at a sleeping cat. She wins. Breathe in. Breathe out.