By Ardi Keim, Massachusetts
Ardi Keim’s poems—after Harold Klemp’s article below—are dedicated to his cat, Miles, and open up possibilities for bringing a cat into your prayer or contemplation time.
Have you ever sat down to contemplate, only to swiftly feel the weight of your cat jumping up on your lap, ready to soak up rays of God’s love with you? Whether you currently have a cat companion or not, take a moment to re-create the gentleness of divine love with a purring cat. How is the image uplifting you spiritually?
The following exercise helps you to get into the habit of remembering to appreciate a “good animal friend.”
A Simple Exercise to Appreciate Your Animal Friends
At different stages in our life we find it very, very helpful that Divine Spirit has sent us a good animal friend—a dog or a cat or a parakeet, even a goldfish. Something to show the divine love that is so necessary for all beings.
In this exercise, you practice keeping an open heart throughout everyday life. It’s very tough; I have to work at it all the time too. No one technique will work for everyone, but there are ways to keep your attention on having an open heart.
So here’s the spiritual exercise: If you have a pet, love your pet. Love it a lot. As the love comes, let it pour through you. And show your love by how you treat your pet every single day.
The habit of love is catching; it builds, gains momentum, and becomes easier. But like a plant that needs daily watering and loving care, the habit of love takes constant attention.
Love won’t come through unless the heart is open.
Reaching through the play
of clatter and gleaming
we stretch to touch
the hand of slight
a full note sings
in the catnap
on my lap.
Crawl onto my lap
Purring metronome, the tail
—First photo by Ardi Keim and second photo by Doug Lakes