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Seldom do I recognize anything during my daily morning routine. This morning was no different than any other, in the routine part anyway. However, as I was about to grab the last remnant of my usual carriage, I caught eyes with Oscar my cat. This has happened before, but something in his eyes made it seem somewhat different today. They were full. Full of contentment and peace. The look made it clear that this cat had reached a level of enlightenment in his old age that I could not comprehend. Curious about how to achieve such a glow, I dropped my bad and sat down next to him to inquire. “Oscar how can you always be so happy and pleased when all around you exist hurt and pain in the world? How can you sleep and lounge all day when so many tasks are out there waiting to be tackled. How do you feel accomplished? How are you happy?”
It was indeed a loaded question which I would not expect anybody to answer off the cuff. Oscar, however, surprised me by a quick rebuttal. “First let me say that to only see the negative is comparable to being blind in one eye. You see want stands to the right of you but miss completely what is on the other side. Just because you do not see it does not mean it is not there. If you would just turn your head ever so slightly towards the weaker side, you may be surprised with what is in fact there. Yes pain and hurt exist, and everyone feels and experiences them. However, how can one overlook compassion and comfort? The will not beat you over the head to be acknowledge, but they are there nonetheless. You need to recognize them and their sources and walk only where they are in your field of vision if you wish not to consort with their opposites who are not as easily ignored. For every bad story in the news there is a good one that was not covered. Go out and find it or better yet make it. Furthermore pain and hurt could not exist if you never were happy in the first place. The trick is finding that again.
“Your second question is very simple. I sleep and lounge and enjoy my day without a single expectation simply from focusing on the now. Yes many things need to be done, and I do what I need to. I do not think, however, what needs to be done next Friday. That can be done then. If you look to the future you only see expectations, and if you look towards the past most often you see disappointment. Still, if one looks at the now they see only what is in front of them and can be done at that moment. You do not think I will do it later or it has already been finished but instead here is what I have at this moment and I need to do it now. Focusing on the moment therefore eliminates regret since everything is done and nothing is left unsaid or undone. You may ask ‘What about being rewarded in the long term?’ I respond that no matter what reward you receive you will never be happy with it. Humans simply get what they want and want more. In other words no matter how many rewards you acquire, you will never be pleased until you have another. I offer the present rewards that surround us everyday unnoticed. We get up, and the sun gives us light. We work until we thirst and hunger, and the earth gives us food and water. We show our compassion to others and they offer it back. Yet we are not thankful for these rewards. How often do you stop to thank the rain for creating a flower? In fact how often do you thank the flower for making life more pleasant? I venture never. This is why I take each moment as it comes and live as if this minute was the most important.”
“Finally the answer to your last answer is simply, I live.”
“What does that mean though because I am living and I am not happy?”
“No you exist. You are not living or you would not doubt the accomplishments and happiness that is surrounding you. To live is to be aware of the natural flow of life. Life is the ultimate gift and what we do with it is the key to actually living. We all have life. However, if you chose to only dwell on one side of life, namely the negative, you are merely existing or living only a partial life. Much like the blind analogy I used earlier, life can be viewed in the same manner. You are sad because you lost something, but you do not see the gain. Good and bad are equals and opposites. They exist in complete balance always. The mind will tell you that one is overpowering the other. On the contrary though, neither one has an upper hand. If you are disliked or persecuted, someone loves you enough to balance. I here humans always talk of coping. Coping does not truly exist. Coping is an excuse for not realizing one’s true surroundings, not trusting one’s emotions enough to keep things in perspective. It is simply an excuse. We create these words to trick ourselves into believing only the negative exists when in reality both sides surround us. If you are lonely and alone, I guarantee someone is thinking of you. Tears come from sadness but only server to comfort. The coldness in the air makes you appreciate the warmth. The hurt of the world makes you feel compassion. Realize these truths, and that you are what you choose to be. Then you will be happy. Then you will truly live.”
“Did those answers suffice?”
“Oh master cat your answers truly move me and make me realize so much. If only it were that easy for me. You are wise Oscar. I am not that enlightened.” With that I grabbed my bad and left for the day to face my existence.