Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Kilkenny Cats - Good Cat - Bad Cat

Two cats sit before mirrors. One cat a fluffy little blue-eyed, loving cat sees reflected back from that mirror a loving image, innocent and gentle, mirroring back the love that is projected from the original.

Now picture an angry cat, a cat with a grudge perhaps, a cat that is unhappy, maybe bitter, maybe suffering a bad attitude, a bad hair day perhaps. He sees reflected back the snarling, hissing, unhappy visage staring back in anger.

The mirror gives a pure reflection, faithfully imaging back the characteristics of the original in each case. Two cats. Two mirrors. Same law of reflection in operation, the mirror reflecting back what it sees, but the pictures are completely different.

The image of the angry cat reminds me of an old Irish legend, that can be recited or sung, and it has a real-life lesson. It goes like this:

There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
Each thought there was one cat too many,
So they fought and they fit,
And they scratched and they bit,
Till, excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats, there weren't any.

Now, lest you think I spend my days thinking about Irish fighting cats, let me explain.   This thought came up recently when I was examining my own actions, wondering why I was feeling unhappy with myself. It seems that too often some things get under my skin, and they shouldn't  I think television and the news media have a lot to do with it, but it’s my own reaction, similar to that angry cat that is at fault. The bad feeling comes from my own impatience and a seeming lack of justice in the human scene that brings it on. I am seeing a reflection of my own critical thinking.
Oh, the issues are endless, immigration injustices, gun control and the arguments on both sides of that issue, voting rights, the lack of love and respect for our fellow man as witnessed in gay issues, political maneuvering, equal rights for women, international turmoil, world climate change, the U.S. budget deficit, and more and more…. 
How tempted I am to respond, to strike back with sometimes critical, ego driven comments which do not actually reflect the peace and harmony which I strive and pray for. 

And how subtle is that "temptation to engage", to wrestle, to contend, to scream and shout our opinions. The TV stations even invite us to “respond’ to controversial issues, “Weigh in...Tell us what you think!!” they say.   Like poking and prodding us to fight, to get into the scrap!! The equivalent of the old boyhood challenge “I dare ya to knock the block off my shoulder!” 
That peaceful cat, looking out and seeing the loving peaceful cat reflected back has become a role model for me.

A statement in the widely read and referenced Bible companion book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, gives us a clue to why we react this way. The author, theologian Mary Baker Eddy, writes
“Pictures are mentally formed before the artist can convey them to canvas. So is it with all material conceptions.” * She elaborates her point by saying, “Mortal mind sees what it believes as certainly as it believes what it sees. It feels, hears, and sees its own thoughts.”

When I am feeling contentious, getting angry over the news or other issues that trouble me, I am acting out those mental pictures I have been developing. Like the artist, I am painting the pictures held in thought on the canvas of my life. But sometimes they have not been pretty ones.

The Bible has some clear guidance to help stop us before we get too deep into the contention. A great verse says:
“The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.” ** The Message Bible translation of that same verse brings it home to us today in an even clearer picture: “The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before it bursts.”

When Jesus was confronted by anger and strong opinions, what did he do? He turned away to walk through the crowd; stooped and drew in the sand when confronted by those who questioned his judgment; and he turned the other cheek.
A wonderful clue shows us how he avoided the petty day-to-day arguments. He said: “I am not of this world”.*** His sights were higher, his goals more spiritual, his boundaries unlimited. His view of life transcended the material, conflicting views of those around him as he lifted thought to be in the secret place of the most High, the Kingdom of Heaven, the realm of thought where God lives. He counseled his followers to be Peacemakers. This man, the highest earthly spiritual representative of his Father, set the example for us and assured us that we too could do the works that he did. 

After all, our day-to-day crises, our troubling present, those things that upset us today will fade away, but we have an eternity in which  to love. We, too, can say, "I am not of this world."  We can get started today, casting off the contention, the angry cat in each of us, and reflect love and harmony 
in our thoughts and actions like that loving kitty.

Science and Health assures us that:
"Man is harmonious when governed by Soul. Hence the importance of understanding the truth of being, which reveals the laws of spiritual existence." ****

Don't you just LOVE... LOVE?

*      Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures – by Mary Baker Eddy page 86:29
**    Proverbs 17:14 King James Version of The Bible
***  John 8:23 
**** Science and Health  page 273:18

For those who have inquired about Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, referenced in some of my articles, here’s the information.  This book is used in Bible study by students of Christian Science and people of many different faiths.

It explains the scientific laws behind the teachings and healings of Christ Jesus. From the first chapter, “Prayer,” to her exegeses of Genesis and Revelation, the author invites readers to deeply consider the allness of God, the perfection of man as God's spiritual creation, and how an understanding of these facts brings healing—just as it did in biblical times. For over 135 years, readers have testified that reading and studying this book has given them a spiritual sense of the Bible and their permanent relationship to God, and has also resulted in physical healing and spiritual uplift.   For more information or to purchase this book, click here.


Laura Moliter said...


Great ideas and I love the analogies you used. I love the idea that Jesus always ACTED but never REACTED. He simply lived as God's reflection, paused when necessary, to gain the higher view. It's so easy to get riled and discouraged when we start with the outward, instead of the Truth of ourselves and of others.

Thanks for the great post!


Melissa Hayden said...

Glad you're not pussy footing around about the need to be thoughtful, and thoughtful again! Thanks Pat.

Patrick Collins said...

Laughing here Melissa!!!! I was afraid you might make a "catty" remark!!! Love it!!!