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The coffee pot and the cat flap

Attachment, non attachment. Dukkha, Sukha.

Many years ago we had a coffee pot, a simple stovetop screw together affair that worked very well and made the best and most delicious coffee. The Dukkha (unsatisfactoriness with how things are) crept in. The ‘old’ coffee pot was given away (perhaps as we were moving on in other ways we felt we should get rid of that too?) and we sourced a fabulous looking shiny coffee ‘machine’, plug in and milk frothing all singing and (almost) dancing. After a couple of years  it stopped frothing milk so well, so it was replaced, by a smaller machine. This too in time stopped working so well and started leaking water, back to Dukkha. Our Dukkha had lead to more Dukkha! Last week we want out and bought a ‘new’ stove top coffee perculator (spookily like the original one). On trying this out it too leaked as the valve was faulty! What was life trying to teach us?

Earlier this year our 17 year old cat died. This was a very sad time for all who knew dear old Rog. In time we found a new ginger friend, Om Shanti, and he has now taken over our space with his beautiful feline spirit. So again we experienced Dukkha. When we experience the big things in life, loss, grief, death, we experience Dukkha more intensely than usual. But this feeling of unsatisfactoriness still doesn’t change anything. At this point we need to try to practice ‘Aparigraha’, non grasping. There are some things over which we have no control, and it is pointless grasping, although challenging not to in many cases. We need to learn to be able to let go and feel a sense of ‘Santosa’, contentment with whatever life brings our way, for it is all here to teach us something.

So, the catflap….as a result of our new addition, we decided to honour his arrival with a new catflap. We visited two petshops and tried two catflaps in total, neither of which fitted the old flap site (a hole in our back door). We returned both to their respective shops, taking up half a days precious time in total. Eventually we came to the somewhat now obvious conclusion that a cat flap which a dear friend had given us some time ago, for the very purpose, may well be the best option. Of course this fitted immediately and is perfect (Sukha).

So, the cat flap and the coffee pot. What can we learn from this grasping behaviour? The new stove top coffee pot (leaking remember?) was returned and replaced with one identical to the very old original one. The cat flap was replaced by one we had all along. Grasping, unsatisfactoriness, wanting things to be different. And yet, often things are as they should be, or do not need to change, or if we are able to adopt an attitude of acceptance then things will change but in a gentler and more forgiving way. Dukkha leads to more Dukkha, grasping causes more grasping, and discontent and so on. Acceptance and letting go leads to Sukha and Santosa.

Be aware, be aware every day of how you may be creating suffering for yourself unnecessarily. Practice stepping away, mentally as well as physically. Take a few moments to stop and notice, see if you can let go, just a  little. Create space for Sukha and Santosha. What we need in life is in us all along, we just need to get out of our own way to see it and allow the magic to happen.