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If we wish to change the person we find ourselves to be, we must change our thinking.
July 23rd, 2018
Lucilius was a young man living in the modern metropolis of Boston, when a girlfriend asked him to bring a small kitten to a veterinarian. He caged the small cat and walked 5 blocks to a veterinarian practice housed in a local home. Upon entering he saw a stainless steel table mounted in the living room where a huge man worked with a small dog. Several people were seated waiting for their animal to be seen and Lucilius took a seat.
In due time, Lucilius was up and the huge man told Lucilius to put the cat on the table and keep it in place.
Lucilius lifted the small kitten from the cage and placed it on the table, and then with both hands, held it in place.
But the cat was quickly spooked, pushing against Lucilius hands and then turning on them, twisting to strike at them with pin tipped claws and small young teeth.
Lucilius gripped the animal tighter wincing at the pain as it sank tooth and claw into his skin.
The veterinarian turned and saw Lucilius struggling with the kitten and said “no no…” he waved away Lucilius’ hands.
“Let me show you how to keep a cat in one place.”
The man did not touch the cat but left the cat where it was. After Lucilius had released the animal, it stood startled, taking in it’s surroundings as though for the first time. A few moments later it started to walk to the edge of the table. But before it could judge the ground for a jump, the veterinarian quickly swept the kitten back to the center of the table, and left it there.
Again, as though for the first time, the kitten was startled and took in it’s surroundings for the first time.
“You have to let the cat think that it’s in control,” said the veterinarian.
The cat walked to the edge of the table after a few moments and the veterinarian repeated his strategy, sweeping the cat back to the center of the table.
“As long as the cat thinks it has control, it won’t resist the quick moves you make.”
Young Lucilius watched the veterinarian dance with the cat.
The huge man kept sweeping the cat back to the center, readying shots while the cat tried to figure out what was happening. He applied the shots with such skill and quickness that the kitten could barely register what was happening, remaining relatively calm the whole time.
The whole affair was done with little effort.
The big man smiled at Lucilius. “Remember, we can ruin our own chances at success if we try too hard. Best to relax, let things happen as they wish and look for those moments when we can make a difference. For good or bad.”
Weeks later, Lucilius was travelling with the girlfriend and visited an aquarium that had recently acquired a Great White Shark, an animal that Lucilius had long regarded with majesty since he was a child. But upon arriving at the aquarium the two learned that the shark had died in captivity, as had every white shark ever brought into such tight confines.
Years later, Lucilius watched an entire nation reel in shock after a violent attack on a beloved city. The people did not see nor notice while startled by tragedy as the reigning government repealed their rights in the name of safety.
And many decades after that national tragedy, when Lucilius was learning to meditate, he remembered the veterinarian’s lesson and did not try to stop his thoughts, but watched them, entertained them, and slowly reeled them in.
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