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A Prayer with my cat

By The Reverend Greg Welin

I have a regular practice of contemplative prayer every morning. I often pray on my back with my knees up so that I am not bothered by pain in my back. My cat does not care about my back pain, but she does welcome the opportunity to sit on my chest while I am trying to meditate.

I will admit that I am distracted. She takes her time finding a comfortable position. She purrs loudly.

Not to get all deep into the spirituality of cats, this is more about my distractions and what I learn from them. My cat can be nothing but herself. She is trying to find a warm place to nap, because that is what she needs.

My cat reminds me that many of the things that distract me are indications of what I need. I worry about work and set those worries aside. I begin to write my next sermon in my head, so I set that aside. I think of some conversation with another person and wish I said something different - so I set that aside. It is a chore to constantly work on that distraction-free space.

My cat becomes still and I listen to her breathing. I notice my own breathing. I notice. The silence gives no answers. My list of tasks and worries remains (or perhaps grows longer if I care to add something.) I breathe and rest. I remember the presence of God who is always present with me. I keep working at setting aside the distractions in my head.

The timer on my iPad app chimes the end of meditation. I move my cat off of me. She is disappointed to be moved from her contented place, as if she is asking, "Why are we moving on?" She reminds me how much I need to be still. She reminds me that I need to rest. She reminds me to be content with whomever I am present.

Praying or not.

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