Question for Cat Lovers: Is Vanity a Path to Enlightenment?Published April 16, 2009
Throughout history, people have both worshipped and hated cats. It appears that cats can cause powerful positive emotions as well as negative ones. This being said, while surfing the internet the other day, I was rather excited to run across a blog on the Internet titled, "The Progressive Egyptian" devoted to the celebration of modern life and preparation for the cats' inevitable return to power. It seems I am not alone in my worship of the cat. In fact, I consider myself one who venerates and adore the feline species. I am drawn to cats not only for their beauty and grace, but because they are so darned honest. Cats always tell us "like it is", and I have yet to meet a "two faced" kitty. In fact, I think of cats as spiritual beings who have a great deal to teach us about unconditional love, gentleness and peaceful coexistence. My husband and I are blessed to share our home and heart with Hush Puppy, a nine year old lilac point Oriental Shorthair who is extremely intelligent who teaches us how to live in moment. The only thing that bothers him are sudden, unexpected loud noises, which sends him flying through the house in an eye blink moving in a mauve colored blur. But after a few moments of self-composure, he comes back to join us, curling up, purring his heart out. In fact, since most of the time he so very emotionally well- balanced, we consider him to be a feline bodhisattva; one whose essence is enlightenment. This is a being that compassionately refrains from entering nirvana in order to save others. The bodhisattva is a being worshipped as a deity in Mahayana Buddhism. Hush Puppy Admiring Himself However, Hush Puppy while a truly enlightened kitty has one major flaw; he is vain. We are not sure why he seems to get so much pleasure from sitting in front of our bedroom mirror, sometimes for several minutes appearing to admire himself. My husband refers to it as "voguing", but I am not so sure that this is what he is really doing. I suspect that his apparent self-adoration may be vanity, but purrhaps this behavior has a deeper meaning. It is indeed a mystery to me. When he catches us watching him, he immediately turns away from the mirror and walks away. At first I thought this was a coincidence, but after observing his behavior several times, I had to believe that he was embarrassed and became very shy. Of course we enjoy the degree of his apparent self love, and make no judgment. But it may be that he is giving us the opportunity to learn about acceptance and compassion, or he is mirroring his love back to us. What do you think? Do cats actually do see their reflection in mirrors? Leave a comment with your ideas and experiences.