My sweet little cat Teeny climbs onto my lap wanting some petting.
She bumps her head into my writing hand. She puts out her paw to bring my hand back when it has the nerve to move away.
She wants love. She wants attention.
She gets both.
Does the fact that Teeny gets petted mean something about her?
“This hand on the back of my head means I am a deserving, lovable, worthy kitty.”
If I didn’t respond to her head bumps and pet her, would that mean Teeny is unlovable?
Would she conclude, “Oh no! No one loves me! I am worthless!”
Nah, more likely she’d just get up and go find somewhere else to sit.
Maybe a window where the sun is coming in.
She doesn’t have to earn either sun or love.
It’s there or it isn’t.
Getting or not getting isn’t made to mean anything about her.
So there’s no pain in not getting what she wants.
Because it’s not about her.
It’s just a happening.
Of course we humans like getting some loving now and then too.
The difference between us and cats is that we think getting it or not…
Getting means, “I’m deserving, I’m worth something, I’m good.”
Not getting means, “I’m bad, I’m not enough, I’m unlovable.”
Humans make getting a little petting turn into painful proof of I AM.
We make everything turn into proof of I AM.
But could it be the pain is in the meaning?
Maybe all suffering can be pointed back to...
“This means I am (insert word here.)”
Because really, what real thing needs so much navel-gazing?
What is served by all that self-monitoring? What gives a darn how we’re doing?
Meaning, seemingly about us…
Is simply painful.
Symbolism makes us nuts.
Right/wrong, should/shouldn’t, bad/good.
Miserable stuff, this meaning.
And yet often right about now is when clients say, “Well then, what’s the point? Why bother with anything; why be alive then?”
As if we need pain and a reason in order to take a breath or pump a heart.
Luckily we can look to Teeny the cat, or really any non-human, for an answer.
Teeny doesn’t apply add-on concepts to a harmless situation.
If she doesn’t get petted she moves to sit somewhere else, looks out the window, soaks in some sun.
Doesn’t change what she is one bit.
Doesn’t make her a lovable or unlovable cat based on whether some hand touches her neck.
Watching her, it's clear that the point of doing anything is just the doing of it.
And that the meaning of life is simply to be alive.
Is that not enough for us crazy humans?
Maybe that’s miracle enough.
Maybe we don’t need to deserve love, be worthy, be enough.
Maybe we don’t need to accomplish, be good, strive, fit in, qualify, or measure up.
Maybe just being a human in the sun is enough.
Teeny says “Yes that’s right.
And please pet me.”