- Zen master
If you look at the meaning of the word Maxim it is a ‘short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct’. I found it very fitting. The concept of a master or guru is central to many eastern philosophies. The idea is simple – in the world of darkness we need a guide who can show us the way. In other words, we seek a master who has transcended desirelessness since desires bring so much of our suffering. I recently realized I have one such master at home already…Maxim. I realized there is a lot to learn from him only if I observe intently. Here are top 3 of the many lessons.
Mindfulness: Maxim is almost always in a meditative state and does not spend time mulling over life. He is forever focused on the present moment. I haven’t seen him planning or stashing away his food for future consumption. He lives life as it comes. All his emotions and physical reactions are driven from the immediate present unlike us where past guilts, and future anxieties dictate much of our present behaviour. I am not sure if our ability to contemplate our condition is a curse or a blessing but trying to be mindful is our attempt at solving our ultimate problem.
Space: Maxim takes us approximately 2 square feet – the smallest footprint in the house. Even so he respects everyone’s space. I may invade his space, but he will only come to me when he is ready to share his love otherwise stays to himself. Maxim lives freely (and completely naked) but is content with basics i.e. food and water. My takeaway – we must minimize our footprint to live a more peaceful life. The more we have the more we tend to worry.
Self-control: Maxim is tremendously focused and composed. I don’t think Maxim harbours any grudges e.g. when I was late in giving him food. He displays tremendous self control – unless he feels threatened, he will simply walk from a situation. He doesn’t want to be liked – I don’t even see him attached to his toys. His ability to stay silent most of the day is one of my biggest learnings…to listen more than I speak. Another is to respect others and give them their space.
While I may have cited Maxim’s example as a guru if you look closely in fact everything alive or not is trying to teach you something. It feels as though consciousness is learning from itself and growing exponentially. The more we become aware of this idea the more we will see how connected we are with the universe. Therefore, be mindful of the stress you introduce…it will invariably affect the entire system. But if you are not in the moment you miss the opportunity to learn, to experience. This is precisely why mindfulness meditation is so crucial…to experience life fully. For those with pets you have a resident guru – just look a little closer.