Discerning Direction with Dunca 

When Times Are Troubled

by Mary Pugh Clark
Montclair Monthly Meeting


I have a large, lanky cat named Dunca. He came to me last December at age 7. Although it was not my idea, together we have developed a meditation practice that has helped me find openings for action in our troubled times.



After breakfast as many mornings as I can I set aside 15 minutes to sit in silence in my den. I light candles and set the alarm on my phone. Because of an injury my legs are stretched out on an ottoman. Dunca has taken to positioning himself along my thighs.  He waves his long tail, thlunk, thlunk, and constantly moves his body.



I stroke him with deliberation, first with one hand, then with the other. I run my fingers gently around his ears, then follow up with long strokes along his back. Developing a steady rhythm seems important. It is my way of showing my love. As I keep up my fondling, I hope he feels connected to me.



As we have repeated our practice, I have gained insight into how I want to act in the world. I seek to be patient and discern how “others” are feeling and what they desire. I need to accept that people can be distressed and unsettled. I can strive to be a steady presence and perhaps find ways to share some comfort.



It is important to me that I stay in the game of life. That I do not run from situations that are strange or unpleasant or even ugly. Dunca may be a squirmer. He may not lie still but he does purr loudly. Meditating with Dunca makes me feel hopeful about responding to that of God in every being.