So, okay, on the surface, quite a boring title, right? Yeah, we have cats, they have cute names, a huge cuddle factor and a very large family-—Doris Cat has 342 friends on Facebook at last count, and a picture of Björn perched on the shoulder of a friend got over 50 “likes” and comments in just a few days.
But this musing of mine is not about Doris and Björn, no matter how much I love them. And, no, it is not about cats either, because to be honest, until I met these two, I had no great love for cats and would have taken a dog over a cat any day. So, if the title has nothing to do with Doris and Björn, and nothing to do with cats, then what is it about?
It is about “our.” This very common word appears to be quite simple on the surface: a possessive pronoun indicating shared ownership or participation. But there is quite a profound implication hidden in that little, mundane word.
We don’t say, “I-you-you-you-you-you has cats,” as if each one were only a separate part and nothing more. We have a word, “our,” that binds those separate parts into a whole and gives them something in common. But what is the glue that holds the parts together?
Well, now we have hit on to something quite intriguing. So I will take as example the “our” that applies to Doris and Björn. We are a diverse lot, this particular gang of cat possessors: many different countries, backgrounds, sensibilities and levels of education; ages from 16 up to 70; funny people/serious people, quiet ones/loud ones, folks who had quite easy lives and folks who emerged somehow from personal hell realms. It might have been possible that we would have all met at a party some years ago and had absolutely no inclination to form an “our” together, but now we find ourselves in a masterfully joyous cheek-by-jowl existence with one another.
This “our,” hmm, I think I’ve grown to know what it is. It is the shared good fortune to be introduced to a simple way of life that chooses easeful and restful alertness over being lost in stories about oneself and others. It is the shared commitment to that simple way of life and the willingness to keep coming back to it over and over again, regardless of the convulsions of the thoughts and emotions. That commitment has led to an assurance and confidence in a relationship to life that naturally creates love of self and love of others.
As people begin to experience the true depth of who they really are and lose interest in the old myths that seemed to determine who they were, they can abide more and more in the natural being that is common to all of life. Then wonders surely happen. The barriers, obstacles and aversions that had filled one’s existence for so long begin to fall away, and a true “our” begins to emerge in which no thing and no one is excluded.
And that is the secret of “our.” It is not about any particular group of people or any thing that is owned. It is about that which holds all things together, lacking nothing and rejecting nothing. Whatever it is that is the origin of all and which holds all, that is the basis of all “ours.”
So, dear Doris and Björn, without doing anything, you are doing just fine!