Many of us have probably noticed a tendency in cats to eat while you are in the room, and then lose interest in their domestic food until you enter the kitchen again, when they return to their dish and resume eating. I’ve seen this behavior in cats of different temperaments, on a number of occasions. It seems to betray a confusion between their independence as formerly wild creatures, and their domesticity and recognition of their entanglement with their human stewards.
And I sense an analogy with the confusion between our own wild selves as humans and our entanglement with the greater group (society, community), especially for those of us who have touched and identify strongly with the impersonal and transpersonal realms of reality and human experience. There is a Wildness inside us, a resonance and an authority that comes directly from our unified and mysterious source, and, depending on our natures and our experiences, it gets more or less tempered (alas, even distorted) by societal conditioning.
I’ve wondered what degree karma and astrology govern the tendency in cats, as I am sure it does in humans. I can only extrapolate from my own experience and the intuitions I’ve perceived when observing cats with the habit I describe. I’ve noticed and mused about this phenomenon in the past, but never opened a journal and pursued the musings.
Then, I was recently talking to a friend about his 18-year-old-feline housemate, with whom I’ve registered his keen psychic/astral entanglement from the first meeting with her. He reports that she will tend to lose interest in her food as soon as he walks away, but will eat it avidly or dutifully if he sits down on the floor with her while she eats. He wonders if she is eating, and by extension, staying alive, for him. And he is astute here. Many a cat knows when they’ve been a reason to get up in the morning, someone safe to give to and receive “love” from.
I don’t insist that they “know” this from that place behind eyes and whiskers whence come their cat-life cognition and strategies, but they know, somewhere in that field of knowing that all sentience arises from. We all have this to some degree, this juggle between our wild and domesticated selves, our independent/separate identities and trajectories, and our identity with the greater self held and generated in the group.
So here I am, one who, astrologically, is wired both to prefer and identify with the impersonal love and the rarified sacred geometry of Creation expressed in Nature, yet who requires engagement with others of my species to exercise my gifts and purpose in the human realm; and I seem unable survive without either or with only one exclusively.
Yet, like a cat, bred for domesticity in spite of my wildness, I better digest the food of man when among other men, who seem to have the stomach for it; and thus it is that I require their energy to function as one of them now and to exercise my human faculties.
And so it is that we straddle these worlds and accommodate both. If our sustenance seems dependent on our domestic connections, we must remember and stoke the fires of those appetites, in order to feed and be fed in that game; yet, many of us—man and beast– when left to our own devices, drift back, in psyche if not in body, to our simple origins, which dispense with the middlemen of domestic life—the grocer, the television, the priest, social mores and even individuality.
I’m just thinking aloud here, and although I might have been thinking it, I didn’t once employ the word “co-dependency.”
I want you to want me; I need you to need me;
I’d love you to love me; I’m begging you to beg me.
As long as we believe that we are separate, what else is there to get up to with these bodies? In my own case, I am aware that I have many gifts with which to serve the world, and there is little juice for “me” on my own these days. I am like a marionette, brought to life when animated by the Great Puppeteer, who plugs me into the greater energy of the group in order to fuel my contribution. But when I am unplugged, there is confusion and collapse, because while creative ideas still flow and impulses to promote a “me” still spark, there is no juice in this isolated instrument to fuel them. So is the ego’s tendency isolate to protect itself thwarted.
Said another way, I no longer have juice for self-promotion unless in company with others, then this greater energy and auspice moves through me in ways that is more profound and useful for the tribe, and nourishing for me. I also crave quiet solitude, and must have it to recharge. Yet if I have that too long, I don’t have seem to have self-propelling energy to fuel body or individual existence. Humans can know their wholeness alone, but as long as we find ourselves in bodies, that seems not enough and must be balanced. It is as if a perception of personhood alone can take us only so far in realizing we are not separate as people. Oneness with everything can be apprehended and sometimes merged with in isolation, in nature. But many of us have become very identified with personhood (even if it is as a person who identifies with the universal), so if we apprehend this one-ness from the perspective of one who is still a person in a body, probably we must then move toward humanness rather than away from it, in order to be free.
When we are alone, especially in nature, the “me” can seem to disappear. But if, once in company, it appears and collides with other “me”s, and all the “me”s focus on the phenomena of our walls colliding, rather than of the limitless life and Spirit—the Wildness– that animates us all, then, when we retreat from the irritation of that friction–the mirrors of our own armor of domestication– those walls still exist and still limit our own connection to our ultimate source and identity.
It is in company, where the collisions occur, that we cultivate the disciplined choice to relate to the Common Life/Love/Self rather than the retaining walls of individuality. And this, ironically, makes it possible to celebrate the kaleidoscope of multiplicity all the more delightfully.
So, where I once looked down upon co-dependency, I’ve learned that I must embrace interdependency. While my bargain may be with the Source common to all, providence comes through the many instruments in Creation’s symphony; and in our world the Wild works plenty through the domestic! And so this cat will prowl many territories alone, yet will kindly bring her body back to the watering hole where the world gathers to share nourishment and compare notes.