I went to the doctor today for what thankfully turned out to be a pesky little virus. As has happened in the past, my blood pressure was a bit elevated. I have intermittently experienced high blood pressure since I was a teenager, when during a hospitalization I was monitored daily for what was reading in the 150s over the 110s.
My gut tells me that my on the high side blood pressure is a result of my reaction to stress — and even if it isn’t, stress certainly doesn’t help my blood pressure relax. Lucky for me, I share my home with three cats who, on the side, serve as humble Zen masters who constantly remind me how to respond to my environment in a healthier way.
First of all, Cookie, Pebbles and Bam Bam don’t hold a grudge. They can’t help but react, rather than gently respond, to the subtle annoyances in life — like when the cute-cute face does not immediately result in a treat. Yet moments later, they are purring, snuggling, and reclining belly up in close proximity to their treat stingy human friends.
Resting, playing, and enjoying the moment are my cat friends’ priorities, not something they try to squeeze in when they can find the time. It is simply a way of life for them. In addition, they appreciate the small things in life — like a squirrel climbing up a pole or rekindling a relationship with a long-favoured toy. These momentary delights are happily absorbed into their hearts, sustaining their vivid engagement with life.
In the safety and pleasance of my home, with three Zen masters to serve as an example, I should be able to embrace a sense of ease and simplicity at every moment, regardless of the circumstances in which I may be immersed — no matter how disturbing and enduring they may seem. Animals are friends and healers with tremendous wisdom to share.