Before I start my daily routines, I try to take at least fifteen every morning to meditate. Although it takes a lot of discipline for me to regularly set this time aside, I do find meditating to be extremely relaxing and it helps me stay in the present.
I hadn’t ever given much thought to meditating in the company of our cats. In fact, to be perfectly honest, the idea never occurred to me until by some stroke of luck I ran across an article on the Natural Cat Care website written by Elisabeth Gruskin, PhD, whose doctoral degree is in Public Health. Dr. Gruskin has aptly named this type of meditation, “Petitation”.
However, when I started seriously considering the idea, it made purrfect sense to try meditating with a cat. Since we all already know how relaxing it is to have a kitty or two sitting in our lap purring away, they basically do ease us into a pleasant and peaceful meditative state, according to Dr. Gruskin.
Felines truly are expert therapists. They chase the blues away, settle our moods and quickly can alleviate anxiety. According to Dr. Gruskin, “Pet-centered meditation can enhance your health and relationships with your cats and help you to develop a mindfulness meditation practice.”
In her article, Dr. Gruskin shared about how petitation saved her life. For many years she had been with a serious bi-polar disorder. Her healthcare providers suggested that she meditate but she thought that suggestion was for the birds. That was until several years ago when she decided that it was finally time for her to get proactive and take a positive step to help make her life worth living.
Initially meditation didn’t come easily to Dr. Gruskin. Her two dogs were hanging out at her door demanding her attention; crying, barking and whining. This scenario wasn’t the optimum way to set the stage for a quiet and mindful meditation- at least not for a rank beginner.
Fortunately for Dr. Gruskin, she made the decision to let them into the room and to start petting them while she attempted to meditate. She was amazed at how calm and quiet they became. Instead of trying to ignore them she focused on petting and paying attention to them and she found how much easier it was to meditate. This is how “Petitation” was born, and now she tries to petitate daily.
Petting a cat while petitating helps keep us “in the moment” with the kitty. Just feeling the joy, honor and gratitude connected with being owned by a cat allows us to expand these grateful emotions to honor others in our lives. Dr. Gruskin also suggests to “Use mantras to help deal with a mischievous cat and avoid unnecessary reactive anger.”
Dr. Gruskin advises that the practice is best started by choosing a time when both you and your cat are already somewhat relaxed. You will also become more relaxed as you become more comfortable with the practice. And as you gain experience you will be able to more easily reach a petitative state whenever your time allows.
Choose a comfortable position for both you and your cat; but don’t fall asleep. Aspire to make Petitation a daily practice; start slowly until you feel more at ease. Then start lengthening your sessions, however if you or your cat aren’t in the mood, don’t force it . . . try again later.
But do make petitating a priority. Dr. Gruskin adds,
“You and your cat are worth it. Petitating can help with physical and emotional health and can help create a better bond with your cat.”
When you finally feel sufficiently confident with your practice, you might want to try a variety of different “Petitations”. It all depends on what is going on in your life and what you need emotionally, physically or spiritually. Above all; don’t get frustrated with the process. Petitation can be an extremely pleasant experience for both you and your kitty.
Matt Cutts (see picture at the top of the page), a senior Google executive with a very popular blog says he much prefers to meditate with his cat. He spends 15 minutes a day in cat meditation.
Have you ever considered meditating with your cat? Does just the thought of doing it “sing” to you? Share your thoughts in a comment.
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