The tree, my cat Marley and I

Nature spoke to me this morning at breakfast.

The tree:
It stands erectly and reaches broadly into the sky to breath air through its leaves and absorbs water and nutrients through its roots.
It does not feel pain when it’s pruned for it has not pain sensors; instead it may grow with more vigor.
It also does not suffer fear of pruning next season for it has no brain.
It simply lives.

She breath.  She drinks water.  She eats.
(She also use the litter box, grooms, purrs, sleeps and bathe in the sunshine)
Unlike the tree, Marley does not have to and won’t take any abuse.  She does not like her nails clipped and we respect her rights.  Once I stepped (accidentally) on her and experienced the painful reality of all of her claws.  Unlike the tree,  Marley and I both can feel pain.  The pain taught us well.  For a long time we chose to keep a respectful distance from each other.
So such pain was a good thing... I think.. at least from Marley’s perspective.
I don’t think Marley suffers worries.  At least she does not seem to “worry” about when we might “abandon” her again to go on vacation.
She seems to enjoy herself and live in the moment.

Like Marley and the tree, I breath.  I drink water.  I eat. (and do bunch of other things)
Like Marley, I also feel pain. Pain is in the present moment.  It may be avoided chemically with medication or substances often followed by pain of withdrawal and significant physical side effects such as pain from opioid mediated constipation and abdominal pain from chronic cannibis usage.  Pain is the way my body tells me what to do or not do.  For example I may have feet pain or back pain if I don’t keep an erect posture; kidney stone pain if I don’t drink 2 liters of water per day;  infection related, inflammatory, heart attack or cancer pain if I don’t eat enough flavinoids; shoulder or knee pain if I don’t allow my body to recover from routine wear and tear.  I have leaned to appreciate my pain for it keeps me healthy and out of trouble.
Unlike Marley, I have thoughts.  For me these thoughts offers moment by moment choices which I must choose from.  If I am not mindful and don’t exercise that choice, I suffer.  If I allow my attention to default to thoughts of regrets from my past and fear of my future, I suffer.  I suffer not from pain of the present rather than what is already past and what I imagine might come.  If I try to block my suffering using medication, substances, food, gambling, keeping busy, self-righteousness and many other substitute; I would have only delayed suffering.  It would be like borrowing from one credit company to pay another.  Eventually, all have to be paid in full.  Principal plus interest.  The persistent avoidance of clearing this suffering debt start as a psychological loop of grasping, quick-fix and shame that gathers energy to become an addiction.   Now I know to accept all things as they are; all things in my past as they were and  all things in my future as they will be.  I choose to be grateful of being alive. I choose to pay attention to the wonder and newness of each present moment.  My techniques is to label thoughts of regret, pride, fear and hope as “thinking” whenever I notice them and redirect my attention back to the present moment that is my breath.  I may also choose to direct my attention away from a present experience of obligatory pain towards a pleasant thought.  I can recall a story from the past and smile.  I create a story in the future and laugh.  I can marvel at the vividness of each moment and be in awe.  My thoughts are pleasure to me.
I also realize that my thoughts are not me.  Like books in my library, they all belong to me but no one book or collection of books define me.  Owning a horror story books does not make me a horrible person.  I have learned to accept these horror story books just as they are - books; for if I tell myself how much I hate these horror story books, I have only managed to add yet another horror story to my collection.  Unlike books, I can’t get rid of my thoughts.  Like books, I can add to my collection of thoughts and perspectives.  The larger my collection of perspectives the more choices I have to choose from to meet the needs each moment presents.  I learn new perspectives by staying in the moment with the curiosity of a beginner’s mind and listen to what’s said and not said and understand what’s seen and unseen.

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