We Are All Cats

by | Apr 18, 2023 | 2 comments

When we meditate together in the Online Gatherings, people are encouraged to arrange themselves however feels appropriate in that moment. Some of us lay down. Some of us sit up. Some of us move from one position to the other within a session.

When people lay down, they typically drop out of the Zoom screen I’m viewing. I might see them set up their mat and blankets. I might see them move about a little. Eventually, however, they drop out of sight. Which means I have no idea what’s going on for them while we meditate. No idea until they get back up into their seats and, perhaps, say a few words about what went on.

Such was the case a couple weeks ago. Once upright again, somebody reported their three cats had joined them on the floor. Each had cozied up and cuddled in and purred away with apparent delight during most if not all of our practice time.

This gave rise to an interesting discussion. We speculated that those cats were sensitive to the fact something quite deep was happening with that person. And this, of course, is what occurs during meditation. We turn toward and settle into embodied experience. In doing so, we begin to sink into relatively deep qualities such as ease and well-being. We are resourced by qualities that are built into who we are, but often covered over by the hither and tither surfacing of our days.

So we speculated that those cats sensed this going on, were drawn to this going on, and were nourished by this going on. Then we took our conversation one step further. We speculated that humans are also sensitive in this manner. That other people sense when we’ve dropped deep in this way, are drawn to us having dropped deep in this way, and are quietly nourished by our having dropped deep in this way.

Which really opened things up for us. We suddenly realized our engagement with meditation – something that is typically done in isolation from most other activities in our households – could be having a notable, a significant, a beneficial impact upon those around us. Our grounding in basic relaxation, for instance, might help a child deal with anxiety or a partner navigate a difficult day.

Suddenly there was an understanding among us that meditation is not as separate from the stuff of our lives as seems easy – oh so easy – to believe. There was a sense that other people notice and are affected by our dropping deep, our developing a relationship with those basic qualities. There was a sense that we are all cats in this regard. And that our continuing engagement with meditation just might help others cozy up and cuddle in and purr away at some level or another.

– Neil


  1. My relationship with my partner has definitely benefited from my practice.
    I’m more accepting and tolerant of the bumps and rough spots of our relationship.

    • Accepting and tolerant is a pretty great outcome, Eric. Having just a wee bit of room to pause before engaging habitual ways can make such a difference. Can bring a small measure of benefit into this world. Keep up the great work!


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