Selfless Living — Is There Such a Thing?!
During the middle of lockdown last year, a lonely, hungry, grubby ginger cat walked into my home on a rainy day. His thin body was riddled with wounds and scratches, and his coat was dotted with silt-like mud. I had two choices — shoo away this dirty cat or clean him up and feed him. I chose the latter. I would anxiously wait for his arrival every day so I could feed and pet him and watch him curl up in corners and sleep in the strangest positions. There are days it would come by just for food and leave, and some days it didn’t come at all.
It was quite strange because it felt like I had a connection with this cat. I often watched it and wondered if this was a reunion of sorts with a pet I had lost. Caring for this cat became a part of my daily routine. I would be irritated though when it didn’t turn up or would go away abruptly because I started to feel that the cat ‘owes me’ and it must now adapt to my routine. And it was on one of those occasions that it got me thinking about how selfish we are!
I always believe that everything happens for a reason. People (animals) who enter your life, situations that occur, changes have a reason. But many a time, in the event of a change, we question these situations in the most selfish way — that in you would always ask yourself, what’s in it for me or how can this situation help me in anyway? I thought about the cat again, by which time I had already given it a name (Ginger) because I wanted to ‘own’ this creature in every sense. But however much I’d feed and pet it, secretly hoping it will let me live my selfish need of wanting to hold on to him, he kept disappearing after walloping a sumptuous meal and demanding to be scratched! I slowly let go of my attachment because this was a clear case of ‘Ginger’ needing me and not me, him. People or animals come into your life because they need you or giving you something to reflect upon to become a better human being.
I guess the reason we feel lost and hopeless when we lose someone or something is because of our selfish attachments to things and people. It’s only human, but with a mindful and stoic lifestyle, you can relieve your selfish needs and live a more content, happy life.
Selfishness creates want. Want creates greed. Greed results in grief. Grief will consume your life and kill your spirit. What’s the point of living then?!
“Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.” — Kahlil Gibran
PS — This year ‘Ginger’ brought a friend, ‘Turmeric’ and they continue to waltz in and out, mostly here only for milk and fish (Oh to have the freedom of a cat)! :)