For the last 2 months, our family has been adopted by a beautiful, white stray cat. It has unilaterally decided that we belong to her, and no amount of reasoning and dissuading has been acceptable. With a commendable single minded determination, it has made itself comfortable outside on our varandah on a couch, surrounded by cushions and blankets that had been accidentally left out over the winter. Every time we open the backdoor or the front door she darts in unseen, runs between our legs, and is upstairs in under 5 seconds, in the childrens room where she hides under the bed, from where she has to be pulled out (not coaxed). This is like a game for her.
Now I have nothing against cats, but I don’t have the emotional capacity to add another baby to my family. So when she runs inside the house, I will chase it around and lift it in my arms, pet it, murmur sweet nothings in its ear, and then leave her outside in the backyard. It then goes around the house and mews at the front door – heart rendering cries that make my heart melt. Sometimes, when I am in the kitchen, she will mew at the laundry door that opens into the garage. During night, it stands outside my window and mews for hours together, hoping to and successful in inducing horrific amount of guilt. All my intrapsychic infrastructures are brimming with guilt !!!!
I know I am a softie, and get moved easily. I take on responsibilities that later are difficult to fulfil, that they often end up harming me. So I keep a stern face, manage a strong composure, and I let her be, telling myself “it is not my responsibility!” But even I don’tbelieve in that myth !!! Dinnertimes are especially tough, it climbs onto the window and looks in with forlorn eyes, mewing sadly, trying to catch our attention. All of us hurt in our indifference, but there is little we can do. I am also amazed at the manipulative powers of this little cat. She knows exactly what to say and do to pull at my heartstrings.
The cat is beautiful and very loveable – I just don’t have room for her in my life, or in my house. The kids love her, but don’t want to take care of her.
When I am typing on my laptop, she insists on being petted and will fight with my kerboard for attention. When we are gardening, she planks herself in my arms and refuses to let me work. The need for love and attention is great. Whenever I can, I hold her and pet her and ponder on the cruelty that humans have inflicted on these animals. There are hundreds of species who are homeless, foodless because we have taken over their natual habitats and forced them to become dependent on us for food and shelter. I also try to imagine what it would be like to be a cat, alienated from its own kind, its own family, homeless and shelterless, dependent on the whim and fancy of Madhu Sameer for love, comfort and warmth. When I am around her, I hate myself, my humanness and the selfishness that is an innate part of that humanity, but in spite of all that guilt and insight, I honestly don’t have the emotional resiliance to take on a baby in my house. So I will ponder on this, love her, pet her, murmur soft apologies for being human, but when I return into the house, I let her stay outside.
And as usual, I wondered about the psychoanalytical base of my empathy, the one-ness I feel with her while she is in my arms. A poignant conversation that I had had with a friend – Arvind Handoo – a few months ago, and I was able to trace the origins of my behavior, and feelings, the correlates in my own psyche. Our likes and dislikes, our actions and inactions always have a developmental correlate, however unconscious that may be.
And so it went and so it went for a few months. Until last week. I returned from work to find a dead sparrow on my doorstep. My heart just broke, and me and my kids gave her a burial in the backyard. I chided the kitty but I knew it was her dharma, her nature to be a predator. And she was doing what came naturally to her. But I wondered why she hadn’t eaten it.
A few days later I saw another dead bird on my doorsteps awaiting my return from work. A few days later, there was yet another one. I was puzzled why she wasn’t eating them up, why she was simply killing them, dragging them to my doorstep, and leaving them to greet me on my return. Being a Jungian who also delves into the symbolic interpretation of such phenomenon that surround me, I also wondered what the universe was trying to bring to my attention. Whatever it was, it seemed pretty morbid with serious implications on my physical and psychological well being.
So I discussed it with a fellow Jungian, someone I deeply respect. And we came to the conclusion that the cat had possibly gone into a phase of offering sacrifices to the malevolent terrible mother who was denying her the priviledges of a home. Exactly the way humans offer sacrifices to god in return for favors. Perhaps our image of a sacrifice-demanding god is derived from the cat like nature that is inherent in all of us. As within, so without. Our images of god are but projections of our own psychological states, and possibilities.
And then, synchronitically, life threw a major curveball my way in the last week. But for my cat, I would have gone under with emotional overwhelm, until I realised what the universe had been trying to tell me for the last two months. Every human is a preditor in part. We all have an inner god that revealed itself to Job in Book of Job, a sadistic, relentless, self serving, narcissistic aspect of god that is essentially a preditor in its disposition. And it is the nature, the dharma of the preditor to seek. The prey is but a sacrifice to the inner, creative, omnipotent god. The psyche demands periodic sacrifice from the environment, for its own survival, its wellbeing, for continuity, this god does what it was meant to do – it courts death to engender its opposite, a regeneration that ensures the supremacy of its own existence. This isn’t by any means right or wrong, it just is – inherent in the psychological nature of the cat, or man – any man. Jung’s Answer to Job is an excellent insight into the natureof such a god.
This insight enabled a choice for me. Do I want to be led to the altar, a sacrificial lamb? Or can I keep myself safe until the next round, till next time life throws such a curveball ? It seemed that my whole life has been spent in being a human sacrifice, such a situation presents as a theme of my life. And I was being tested again. I had won, I had not succumbed. Hopefully, the complex that drives these situation in my life will be deactivated thru these insights. They brought immediate psychological relief. Did the universe want me to learn, pay attention – is that why the universe had allowed the cat to suddenly appear in my life? Was the whole situation orchestrated to test my resolve, and then to help me? I wonder if the cat sensed my inner turmoil, and in a mutually beneficial system based on non duality, she abstained from eating the prey, dragging those delicious morself of food to my doorsteps. Was it her way of saying “this is a sacrifice from me to you, and in parallel worlds you are being sacrificed to appease higher gods!”
On one level I know this is irrational, and yet, on another level, is it?
And I wondered that all the sacrifices that we offer to the god – are they even valued by the creator? The bird was a delicacy for the cat, and rather than eating it up, the cat has been offering it to me, the mother-god. And yet, although I understand the purpose of those sacrifices, I have love for the cat, I have empathy, compassion, an understanding of its predicament, I am touched and moved, and yet I remain strangely unmoved from my position. So does anything the cat do, matter to me at all ? Does anything we do matter to god?
I love the cat. But I need to maintain the sanctity of my own emotional sanity, and the sanctity of my home. And everyone else has a similar right. This was an experiential lesson that the beautiful white stray cat brings into my life. And although I will not go into the details of my personal life, trust me, it was a timely message sent to me by the universe.
I do experience a creator. I just can’t seem to depend on him, although it is getting better. 🙂
I’ll be away at Spokane for the next few days. But I already have pages and pages of my next blog, written yesterday during an aha moment of a great insight regarding a mythologically pertinent experience. I suppose creativity flows as, only and as a consequence of insights and self realzation. I should have posted that today, but for some irrational reason, the cat episode seemed terribly important and had to take precedence. I am sure there is method to my madness and it will reveal itself in time…
Be well. Take care.