Let them eat mice

Posted on June 20, 2010

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Have you ever watched a cat hunt? The responsibility to go find food, every day, every meal, never seems to impose a burden on a cat who is used to it. In fact, they seem to derive not only significant satisfaction from the hunt, but do a fair amount of playing in it. Rather macabre, if one anthropomorphizes about it much, this cat setting down a mouse just to see it rear and face her, while she waits in knowing patience for it to run. She’s really just honing her skills.

Not a particularly fun situation for the cat, or the person, unused to the hunt. In my own experience, there are few times when I really embraced the opportunity to fend for myself, in whatever arena, until I developed the confidence that made subsistence a bankable reality and play a comfortable leisure. We all know that we’ll never work a day in our lives if we do what we love, but the step we don’t talk much about is developing the skill to make our play consistently feed us. Not too much confidence happening when we’re hungry, literally or metaphorically.

I’ve thought a lot about all the different kinds of hunger that creep into our lives, or just seem to hang on and on. On the sabbath, particularly, it seems appropriate to pause a moment and think about what kind of water could forever quench a thirst. Can you imagine never being thirsty again? I can’t even imagine it physically, much less emotionally or socially or intellectually.

What if I had the confidence of knowing that my needs would be met, and I just acted, instead of waiting for the food and water bowls to fill? What if I were never hungry or thirsty for a compliment, a validation, things going my way, or some external badge of success? What if I just hunted, and played, fully confident that I would never be hungry or thirsty. What kind of life would I live, knowing that?

Cats, once trained, hunt effortlessly, employing all their instincts, and they do just fine. I figure we probably have all the tools we need to live effortlessly, once trained to do that, and we’ve been told that if we want it, we can never be thirsty again.

That’s actually kind of cool. I think I need to retrain. I like the idea of effortless, playful, self-sufficient hunting, rather than looking forlornly through the back porch screen door and waiting.

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