Beginner's Heart

the author's

the author’s

My animals are far better people than I am. And they’re certainly better Buddhists. They love me no matter my mood, whether I forgot to feed them, whether I feel like messing with them or petting them (sometimes I feel more like messing w/ them — tickling their feet, skritching them against their fur lines)… They’re beyond patient with me.

They console me when I’m blue (or green, or crimson w/ unrepressed fury!), sitting on my feet, my lap, my shoulders. At night, the cats curl into whatever hollow presents itself, and sleep contentedly. They don’t judge me (or anyone else). They don’t yell at me. They just love me.

While I fret against an unknowable future. Rail against impersonal fate. Worry about how I can ‘fix’ what is all too often unfixable.

I want to be that kind of person. That kind of Buddhist — full of love & comfort & trust. Offering a warm hug instead of profanity at the latest in a string of political tragedies. Trying to not try so damn hard. It’s not like I even CAN fix what is most heart-breaking: Eritrea’s child slavery, America’s racist ‘justice’ system, the inequities of a global system increasingly slanted to benefit the highest bidder.

Nope. Pascal, Hugo, Hector, & Sophie could care less. dogs sleepingThey are grateful every time I feed them — they never take meals for granted! Hector is ecstatic when I turn on the faucet to drizzle fresh cold water, and Hugo even loves it when I bathe him (well, he loves how he feels after I bathe him….almost the same thing, right?). Each of the four has his/her own way of showing love: headbutts, paw pokes, slobbery kisses.

I’m a terrible Buddhist. I rail against heartless politicians. I judge (often & loudly) the idiocy of those in power. I shake my head at the double standards of so-called leaders. I yell, swear, and sometimes even throw things.

All the while, my fur babies soothe, console, and remind me what’s really important: love. Love is what we need to offer each other — in the form of food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, comfort for the lonely. And from my fur family? Love is that wonderful animal pleasure of soft fur and warm hearts.

I don’t want to be a cat or dog, honest. But sometimes (what am I saying: often!) I wish I was as good a person as mine are. Truth.

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