West London Buddhist Centre

Please, no fleas

Published on Feb 13th 2024, in Blog

Living with a dog or cat or other furry being opens new worlds of experience, knowledge and challenges. But are they really all that different from our own?

Our resident wise one, Vajra the cat, recently had a visitation from some rather persistent fleas. At first, I didn’t quite realise who had taken up residence in his furry stripes. He just seemed to be grooming a bit more than usual – and he is a champion self-cleaner. In my ignorance, I thought the only response to fleas was scratching. Wrong! Apparently, cats might scratch or self-clean more when fleas jump on board.

Thinking about it, I realised we all have fleas (though hopefully not the insects). Those persistent thoughts or feelings or physical sensations that irritate or upset us, keep hovering in the background and then reappear to cause discomfort. Our very own fleas!

We can scratch them (literally or metaphorically) to try to get rid of them, with tightened brow and lips. Scratching is actually quite violent in some ways, quite harmful – and only alleviates the suffering for a short time with some unpleasant side effects (cranky thoughts, irritation, despair, rough and open skin).

But if we gently stroked or groomed those ‘fleas’ – ah, now that would be different. We are turning towards what is causing unease, acknowledging and soothing the parts of ourselves that feel that discomfort. It may not get rid of the fleas all together but it certainly turns down the volume on their power to cause upset. And helps us to find a bit more balance in our heart/mind as we decide how to proceed to deal with those fleas.

Once again, I bow at the furry feet of my teacher.

With a bow, Maitripushpa
PS fleas have been banished from Vajra (fingers crossed)

from the WLBC newsletter 8 Feb 2024

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