Kat Tansey went from a successful career to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to severe depression. In 1993, she crashed, with her moods swinging between depression, and compelling thoughts of suicide that would end her depression. Choosing to Be: Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master is her fictionalized story of her discussion of meditation, and the Buddha nature, discussions she held with her cat, Poohbear Degoonacoon.
Poohbear is a wise Maine Coon cat who suggests to Tansey that she bring home a kitten because kittens "truly know their Buddha nature." A kitten "just is." Catzenbear, the Maine Coon kitten, is "one who looks at everything with the awe of seeing it for the first time." For Poohbear, meditation was a method to open up the mind to the limitless possibilities, possibilities that are there for the innocent kitten.
Tansey had gone into a four year spiral downward, suffering first from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Then her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at the same time Kat hit menopause full tilt. She had lost the ability to find joy in life. Poohbear's lessons, along with Tansey's retreats and work with meditation teachers, helped Tansey find answers in her own life.
Although it's a fictionalized story, Tansey's Choosing to Be is a thoughtful guide for readers looking to find some peace. For some readers, a cat's wisdom will sound ridiculous. However, for those of us who live with cats, it makes sense that cats would understand meditation and philosophy. It makes sense that a cat could teach a human to learn how to relax, and accept life. And, the book is an easy introduction to Buddhism and meditation.
Kat Tansey's book is called Choosing to Be: Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master. I picked it up because it was a fun title. I have more respect for meditation, and, naturally, the wisdom of cats, after reading the book.
Kat Tansey's website is www.ChoosingToBe.com
Choosing to Be: Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master by Kat Tansey. iUniverse Incorporated, ©2008. ISBN 9781935278146 (paperback), 143p.