January at Throssel is a time, for monks, of rest and reflection. Extra formal meditation and a time to turn out drawers, cupboards and boxes, discover, ponder. This is made possible by an evolving team of guests here to do the cooking and generally keeping the wheels of the monastery turning. Much gratitude for their dedication.
While turning out some drawers today I found a card from a dear fellow monk sent in June 2018 for no particular reasons, save wishing me good health. Enclosed with the card was a ‘merit necklace’ she had been given post-surgery. It’s basically a cord with lots of knots in it, simple, full of compassion and an inspiration – actually it’s the monk who is inspirational. Can’t say more than that. Each knot marks a recitation of a scripture – The Litany of the Great Compassionate One. Lots of knots, lots of recitations. At the moment it is looped around the Buddha on my private altar. I love it.
This image is on the card, the poem handwritten inside. The card was designed by a chap who has three Maine Coon cats. Perhaps this is one of them. Ronnie, Gipper or Bojangles? My vote is for Bojangles.
A Small- Sized Mystery
by Jane Hirshfield
Leave a door open long enough,
a cat will enter. Leave food, it will stay.
Soon, on cold nights,
you’ll be saying “Excuse me”
if you want to get out of your chair.
But one thing you’ll never hear from a cat
is “Excuse me.”
Nor Einstein’s famous theorem.
Nor “The quality of mercy is not strained.”
In the dictionary of Cat, mercy is missing.
In this world where much is missing,
a cat fills only a cat-sized hole.
Yet your whole body turns toward it
again and again because it is there.