“It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work,
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.”
I came home on Wednesday afternoon to find our cat, Noah, barely moving. Noah is a very old cat, and we’ve been getting the feeling lately that he was at the end of his life. After I washed him up, isolated him in the bathroom with a warm bed, litter box, water and cleaned up the considerable mess (he had been incontinent on the couch, happily I’d put a heavy quilt over it the day before) in the living room, I called the vet. When I made his appointment I thought it would probably be to put him down. The appointment was for yesterday at 10 a.m.
Before I went to bed, I checked on him and he seemed very peaceful. I prayed that he would pass away quietly at home. As I tried to go to sleep, my mind kept running scenarios about what I should do for him. How can I help him pass in the most gentle way? Should I try to find a vet who could come to the house? Should I even take him in for his appointment (Noah, like most cats, hates going to the vet). Do I really want his final hour to be spent so unpleasantly? After about a half hour of this thinking, I realized the problem: It wasn’t what to do with Noah, it was what to do with my mind that was not resting in bed at 10 p.m, letting go of the day, but was off in the next day trying to figure out what to do tomorrow. Hopeless.
The next thought was, “You will know what to do tomorrow” and this thought filled me with peace. When I woke up in the night and felt those worried thoughts try to come back I noticed this but instead of running with them I meditated on the thought that Noah was also a part of this vast “Oneness” which knows what to do at all times and which always guides, directs, and points the way. I kept thinking about how interconnected we all are. I kept thinking about the concept of Grace, which is always present in the moment.
I notice that when I try to get out ahead of “a problem” and figure it out, I feel lost… because I am. I’m lost in a mind that believes there is something to be afraid of as it conjures up unhappy scenes, one after the other, each looking more dire than the previous scenario. I am afraid that something in my life will get out of control if I don’t control it (which I also realize I am powerless to do so I feel even more desperate). When I’m letting my mind run wild like this, I am lost in fear and in that low place, everything looks bad.
When I woke up yesterday morning, I quietly stepped into the bathroom to find Noah looking up at me like, “What? Are you going to let me out of this bathroom now?” All of my thoughts about how to help him pass, blah, blah…he wasn’t ready to go, but I didn’t know that until I needed to.
When I need to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, I will have access to that information. How? I don’t know. How is it possible that at some level, I have access to infinite intelligence and guidance? I don’t know. How can I possibly be connected to all of life (and that includes every being that has ever been or will ever be)? I don’t know. But I believe this and I know this to be Truth. I don’t know how I know this, but I do, and when I remember it, it brings me unspeakable peace. I also know that this is true for everyone whether they belive it or not.