Friday, June 3, 2011

The Meow of a Cat

I am so tired of him. He is driving me up a wall! The constant whining and complaining. It seems like the only time he stops is when he's asleep. I've almost stopped caring.

What was that?

Oh, not Shoghi. Of course not. He's like an angel in a little child costume.

I'm talking about my cat, George.

He is constantly meowing for food. Now, normally I would presume that there is something missing from his diet, and that he is really hungry for that particular thing, but I've really checked his diet, and it doesn't seem to be that.

Aside: 'Abdu'l-Baha once wrote that "The Báb hath said that the people of Baha must develop the science of medicine to such a high degree that they will heal illnesses by means of foods." He went to add "The proof of this is that while other animals have never studied medical science...when one of them falleth a prey to sickness, nature leadeth it... to the very plant which, once eaten, will rid the animal of its disease. The explanation is that if, as an example, the sugar component in the animal's body hath decreased, according to a natural law the animal hankereth after a herb that is rich in sugar. Then, by a natural urge, which is the appetite, among a thousand different varieties of plants across the field, the animal will discover and consume that herb which containeth a sugar component in large amounts. Thus the essential balance of the substances composing its body is re-established, and the animal is rid of its disease." This is also how I generally try and heal myself. I try to really examine my tastes and see what it is that I am craving. It generally works, except that I often get more chocolate than I probably need. But seriously, if I feel the craving for, say, cauliflower, then I know that there is something in it that my body really needs. I can only presume the same is true for my cat.

Now I could probably write an entire series of articles on just this one quote alone, but what I wanted to talk about today is something a bit different.

I wanted to look, instead, at the concept of complaining and caring being inversely proportional to each other, for most of us.

If my cat only whined when his bowl was empty, I would have lots of sympathy for him. I would go out of my way to feed him at times like that.

But he doesn't.

He meows as if his spleen were being removed every time I go into the kitchen.

And it isn't attention he wants, for I give him that. No. He makes it very clear that he wants food. And more of it.

Lately I've noticed a sad trend within myself. The more he complains, the less I seem to care, which is why I'm writing this.

There are many stories of the early Baha'is who suffered phenomenal hardships quite joyously. It's not that they sought them, but just that they recognized them as being from Providence, and were joyous to be able to accept them. And it was their lack of complaint, in fact it was their radiant acquiescence that won over so many other people.

But then I think about the various people I know. Those who are always complaining seem to evoke little or no sympathy within me. While those who almost never complain, when they do, it is as if my heart is being ripped out. But the worst, or the best, are those who never complain at all, and yet I know they are suffering. They are the ones that I want to do almost anything I can to help.

I don't think it should be like this, though. I think I need to work on my own self so that, whether or not they voice their complaints, it has no bearing on my reaction. I should find that compassion within me at all times, and under all conditions.

I know that this is very important, for Baha'u'llah has said, "The heaven of divine wisdom is illumined with the two luminaries of consultation and compassion".  'Abdu'l-Baha has also said, "The Kingdom of God is founded upon equity and justice, and also upon mercy, compassion, and kindness to every living soul." He continues that train of thought by pointing out that "it is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature. For in all physical respects, and where the animal spirit is concerned, the selfsame feelings are shared by animal and man." And that point about the animal spirit doubly reminds me of how I must treat my cat.

Now that I've recognized the importance of this, how do I do it? What is it that I can do to help increase my sense of compassion?

'Abdu''l-Baha has said, "the teachings of Baha' shall assuredly breathe the spirit of peace, the love of God and divine compassion in the hearts of men." Does that last mean that when I study these teachings, my heart will increase its compassion? I think that may be what it means, but I'm not sure. I can also read it as saying that God will be more compassionate to me.

'Abdu'l-Baha has also said, "When our thoughts are filled with the bitterness of this world, let us turn our eyes to the sweetness of God's compassion and He will send us heavenly calm!"

After all, what's the meowing of a cat compared to some of what we read in the Dawn-Breakers?

I'd write more on this right now, but someone wants me to give him some more food.

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