- Cats and Zen
Cats and Zen
Zen is a Chinese meditation-focused art that values and tries to create a calm, observant mind. Practicing Zen can be peaceful and help people with a wide variety of issues.
We think cats are already Zen masters and may be able to help their humans get better at it too. Take a look at some of the ways cats are naturals at Zen.
Let Your Cat Provide Some Zen Tunes
Need some mood music to get in the right frame of mind for meditation? That's easy. Just invite your cat up onto your lap, apply some well-placed strokes to the head and rump, and enjoy the resulting dulcet tones of perfect purring.
Cats' purrs may even help your joints feel better. So, while you're enjoying the Zen meditation with your kitty's purrs in the background, you may even experience some joint pain relief. That's pretty Zen.
Learn to Focus
Have you ever watched your kitty sit in a window and carefully watch a bird at the feeder outside? Cats have this way of staring unblinkingly, in total concentration. That's so Zen. It's "be here, now" to the extreme. We can learn a lot by watching how a cat is able to fully embrace and be part of each moment.
Try Some Yoga
Yoga is a fantastic way to get in touch with yourself and practice peace and meditation. And we don't know any creature on the planet better at yoga than cats.
Seriously, have you watched your kitty arrange themself into a pretzel shape to fit into a tiny cardboard box? That's yoga at its finest.
Stretch Before, After, and During Your Meditation Sessions
Pulling a muscle is definitely not Zen. So, before you do any intense yoga positions, be sure to stretch well. Your cat is perfect for teaching you how to do that, too. Cats are the ultimate stretching machines. They stretch when they wake up, before they go to sleep, after they play, and in between naps. So, really, cats spend almost as much time stretching as anything else.
Stretching feels great, and it helps focus your mind too, so give it a try. Stretch tall and stretch often.
Take Time for Sleep
Sleeping may not sound like a particularly Zen thing to do, but it's critical for both our minds and bodies. And, without it, there's no way we can practice Zen effectively. In fact, peace will probably elude you if you spend most of your time feeling sleepy.
Cats have cornered the market on sleep, spending upwards of 18 hours a day engaging in it. They take snoozes and catnaps and long, solid sleeps and make no excuses for any of it.
While you likely can't spend 18 hours a day sleeping, you should shoot for 8, at least. And if the mood strikes you to take a nap in a sunbeam, and you have the time, don't feel guilty for indulging. It will help you be much more Zen.
As adults, many people forget to make time for play, and that's not Zen. Play is good for your body and mind, and a playful spirit can make it easier to meditate and let life's little annoyances slide right off your back.
Cats are great at play. Give them a fun toy stuffed with catnip, and they're off to the races. Learn from your cat and sneak more playtime into each day. In fact, play with your cat, and you'll both be happier.