Our beautiful cat Mooshi was a little skittish, having been feral in her first few months of life. She was strong and sweet, devoid of guile. She wasn’t a lap cat, didn’t like being picked up for long. She retained a little wildness and loved to play back and forth across her wild line especially in the crepuscular hour, but also holding to her dignity and pensiveness at times. You couldn’t touch her stomach, though you’d dearly wish your hand on such soft fur. The closest we could get was to gently cup her ribs when she stretched up the kitchen cabinet, her claws feeling for a crack above the drawer.
She grew sweeter and more beautiful as she aged. You may have wished for more cat cuddles but you got more than that. When she came into the kitchen she would ever so lightly brush past your leg. Sometimes she would lightly lean on the side of your calf. She might sit next to you with her paw barely touching your thigh. Limitation brings the most exquisite gestures, as love demands not the change we think is necessary. Love shines everything to show its light, and demands nothing.
God I miss her still, and that beautiful wordless communication that lives beyond the paltriness of language. I miss her daily movements, her thick multicolored fur, her sitting watchful and still, her sweet sleeping. I miss her fluid walk with tapping claws on the hardwood floor, her open unblinking stare. I miss the stalking games we played so often. The way she loved a strong back-rub (but not too strong), she would stay in one spot for a while then move a foot or two forward, waiting for more, ears tilted back listening in contact.
I saw her in every animal I looked at. In every pair of eyes, in wings and legs, and soft bodies. In the fullness of gesture most humans have lost.
The time since she died is like a space that increases, it’s distance my pain. Yet the metaphor of time/space is an illusionary marketplace of experience, for there is no time. Increasingly she is in my heart, sometimes walking with me, rubbing her cheek on mine, weaving joyfully around my legs, sitting with me in the park and watching the sunset and the swallows.
Love arises in the eternal and has no distance or fracture. This is what trusting the echo of our silence brings, for love never arises, never leaves, instead appears fully formed, the subterranean bedrock of all our being. And every act of love enriches us, for in this the eternal is boundless in its creativity. In love, life has no facility for death, just birth and birth and birth to brightness. The very reverse of our fearful thoughts — to darkness and darkness more, to dust.
The contemporary self-torture of the good person is “self improvement”. It’s a modern softer, slightly less violent version of its older moralizing predecessor. Its tools of trade are resistance, denial and demand. It walks right past the first step — to love and allow a natural being, an evaporation of suffering and conflict — that dissolves all thoughts and emotion, and allows their simplicity in the heart of wholeness. This first step is the last. An infinite variety of individuality is intended, no one is unintended by Life. All ones are unique as the One intended. Every human, animal, plant.
In this Mooshi was my teacher, her beauty and sweetness the crucible of my transforming.
It is said “You’re not a complete soul until you’ve loved an animal.” It has also been said there is no hierarchy of beings on Earth. Each and every creature is a unique tone and luster of the one Light. Only the most ignorant would claim to be higher than another. This brings an infinite orchestration of multitudinous being for which there is no name, no labeling, so no conceptual belonging or lostness.
Every act of kindness, of seeing-as-ness, of touching in simplicity, is the birth of an entire universe in a spaceless space that has no limit. I wonder how many such universes were created in the eleven years of my joyful interacting with this sweet animal?