Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. This is something that I observe daily in my cats and I notice how happy they are with their lives. So here I have collated 8 things cats taught me about mindfulness.
Mindfulness practitioners learn how to pay attention on purpose by practising specially developed mindfulness meditation practices & mindful movements. With practice, practitioners learn to slow down or stop brain chatter and automatic or habitual reactions, experiencing the present moment as it really is.
1. Do One Thing at a Time
I have noticed that my cats rarely try and do two things at once. They do not try to eat while playing, or wash while sleeping. They are fully focused on each task, and when that is complete they move on to the next. By doing this they are able to fully experience the excitement of play, the flavour of food, or the restfulness of sleep. I challenge you to try doing this, next time you are eating, focus only on the food – the colour, flavour, texture and smell of your food and see how different your experience is.
2. Do Things Deliberately
When our cats are playing, they will sit and watch the red dot move along the carpet or the wall and they will pounce only when they are ready. They do not rush through the experience of play, instead they focus on it and their actions are not wasteful, or rushed. We can learn from this and do things intentionally. We can make every action count rather than just doing it for the sake of it.
3. Do Less
This can be hard in the modern fast-paced world. However, if you do less you can do those things slower, more deliberately and with more focus. Cats do only four things and they do those things well. They don’t try and do more or less than what they can.
4. Leave Space
Cats always have time for a nap. What we can learn from this is always leaving enough space between tasks in your schedule. If you think something will take 15 minutes, allow yourself 30 minutes. That way you are not rushing and you are ahead of schedule, allowing yourself to complete the task slowly and deliberately rather than in a rushed way.
5. Prioritise Nothing Time
Cats ALWAYS have time to do nothing. They will sit in silence, gazing off into the distance as if you are not even there. They will sit in the sun and think about nothing but how nice the warm sun is on their fur. We could learn a lot from this and it only takes five minutes a day. Just sit in silence. Become aware of your thoughts. Focus on your breathing. Notice the world around you. Become comfortable with the silence and stillness.
6. Stop Worrying about the Future
How many times has your cat worried about what tomorrow brings? How many times have they worried about tomorrow’s schedule? If they could talk, I’m sure they would say NEVER. By always focusing on the future you cannot experience the present moment fully and you miss out on much beauty, and experience more anxiety. Learn to recognize when you’re doing this, then practice bringing yourself back to the present. Just focus on what you’re doing, right now. Enjoy the present moment.
7. When You are with Someone, Be Present.
How many times has your cat had to head-boop you to continue the scratch you were giving them, because all of a sudden you had stopped, too preoccupied with your phone or the television. Cats give us their undivided attention without worrying what to do or say in response to us. When you are with someone, practice really listening to what they’re saying rather than thinking about your response or your to-do list. You will enjoy your time with them more and feel more relaxed afterwards.
8. Eat Slowly
Dogs will often scoff their food down without even taking a breath. Cats, however, are different. They will approach the food bowl, sniff at the food and take just enough for a mouthful. After chewing, they will approach the food bowl for more. Like our cats we should savour each bite, slowly, and really get the most out of our food. Interestingly, you’ll eat less this way, and digest your food better as well.
I would love to hear what your cats have taught you. Leave a comment below or on our facebook page.