REVIEW: The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Power of Meow by David Michie
“If you ever doubted that your feline companion has her own inner life, just watch what happens when she falls asleep, and loses conscious control of her physical being . . . a twitching of limbs, a quivering of the jaw, sometimes perhaps a snuffling noise or a meow. . . . Cats may indeed be capable of great mindfulness. But we are thinking beings, too. In my own case, unfortunately, a being who thinks rather too much.”
In the latest installment of the Dalai Lama’s Cat series, His Holiness’s Cat (“HHC”) is on a mission: to think less, to experience more, to live in the moment. She soon learns the proper phrase for this, being mindful, or, a concept better known to her as the power of meow. What ensues is a journey to discover her own true nature, to gain a deeper understanding of her mind, and to experience life’s greatest joy, the here and now.
Throughout, she shares encounters with familiar inhabitants of Dharamsala, as well as a whole new cast of characters: a senior exec from one of Silicon Valley’s most famous social media companies (hint: the name rhymes with “litter”), the Pope’s beloved dog (who shares a shockingly similar title: HHD, His Holiness’s Dog), and a public health inspector who threatens to have our poor narrator banned from the Himalaya Book Café.
In this follow-up to the Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purring, readers escape to the enchanting and exotic world of the Dalai Lama’s monastery in the Himalayas, and take a peek inside the mind of a delightfully imperfect creature on the path to enlightenment. By accompanying HHC on her journey, you will learn new ways to relate to your own mind: slowing down, finding peace, and abiding in the boundless radiance and benevolence that is your own true nature.
Dear Mr. Michie,
Ah, how delightful to see our darling Snow Lion back discovering more about herself, her past, her friends, and how to relax and meditate. I find while I’m reading her exploits that I relax as the cares of the day roll off me. It helps if I’m sitting in a sun puddle when I start but soon, my mind feels calmer and I begin to feel my breathing.
The Most Beautiful Creature That Ever Lived has a new name to add to her collection – Sacred Being. And it’s lucky for some of our returning characters that she is recognized and adoration begins as there is a villain in the area out to mess things up. In true feline fashion, Snow Lion manages to liken her difficulties with meditation to a slight (it wasn’t her fault, honestly) flea infestation issue she was plagued with before the Dalai Lama noticed and got her a flea collar. Luckily there are plenty of monks, plus this time a nun, always about to help with meditation and mind – thought watching. Acknowledge a thought, let it go and watch it float away like a wave cresting on the beach. One also needs to give up negative self thoughts that are holding one back.
The annual compilation of data about the various monasteries reinforces the idea that mindful practicing of meditation might help healing and longevity. A wonderful discovered treasure leads to discussion on the connection between meditation and medicine. The text, dated from over 300 years ago, has intriguing correlations to quantum physics and how consciousness is energy which flows through all semchans rather than beginning and residing only in the brain.
But best of all, beautiful Snow Lion gives gentle directions for beginning meditation. It’s fine to start slowly, it might take a while to notice progress, but improvements begin sooner than we imagine. Plus if you are blessed enough to live with a feline, you’ll probably gain a lap warmer while you sit, breath, and become calm and relaxed. B