Friday, June 19, 2009

Practicing yoga is practicing life

Last week I had a lesson in Karma Yoga. I had adopted a stray cat (or rather, she had adopted me), and for almost a year had been feeding her. She was a lovely cat with a sweet disposition, and desperately wanted to be adopted by me (which my actual cat was having NONE of!).

She was always in fragile health but we had fed her up and she was seeming pretty strong and healthy. So last weekend I took her to the vet to be spayed, in hopes that once she had had the operation we could find a family to adopt her. I was a bit worried that she wouldn't be strong enough and I warned the vet about her fragile health. He thought she would be ok - but sadly, she wasn't, and died during the operation. :( Oh, tears!!!!

I felt terrible. I felt like I had betrayed her. I replayed her pitiful meows from inside the cat-box in the car as I was driving her to her doom. I regretted ever taking her to the vet and I wished I had just let her be.

But then I remembered my own post about Karma Yoga - that action is better than inaction. The intentions of my action were good. I did a better thing by trying to do something good for this cat than by doing nothing at all. We can't let our lives be ruled by attachment to consequences - good or bad. The intention is, has to be, the guiding principle that we live by.

Lesson in point - but I will still miss Patches the cat.

1 comment:

  1. You did do the right thing, from the perspective of plain old ordinary life as well as that of yoga. But, that said, there are times in life when inaction is actually the good outcome, or achieves the best that the universe will reward, in the concept of Shiva. I guess the critical part is when it is evaluated and decided, whether in the heart or otherwise, rather than inaction from cowardice. Interestingly, existentialism comes to similar views: the essay by Hannah Arendt, for example, on goodness, in which she argues that true goodness is done only when it is unknown.