creativity Zen philosophy

Ichiro or the yellow cat: who would you rather be?

This semester we played some games in my classes to raise students’ awareness of their environment and how they react to it. This is one.

Teacher pulls out of a bag a bobblehead and a yellow Japanese cat figure, puts them on a table, and asks: “Who would you rather be, the best hitter of the era, Ichiro Suzuki, who led the Seattle Mariners in 2001? Or this yellow cat piggy bank?”

Students laugh. “Ichiro of course.”

The teacher: “Are you sure? Watch his head. Being an unaware human, he is a victim of the Mind. Thus when something bad comes along [Give the head a hard tap], he’s out of control.  [The head continues to bounce randomly, for a good three minutes or so.]. It is the cat we should emulate. The cat, with a low center of gravity, cannot be tipped over.”

This relates to all manner of actions. As Peter Ralston writes,

When our feeling-attention is put in the center region, the intellect does not dominate our actions and perceptions.  … Centering calms the mind, making it clear and powerful, unquestioning and unknowing, thus allowing access to a domain of spontaneous appropriate actions.

Begin by getting in touch with the center region on a physical level. Concentrate on the feet, when you stand in line or do a standing meditation. Notice how the feet constantly relate and readjust in relationship to the earth. It is the transference of weight from one foot to another that allows most of our actions and power. Adjust the waist and legs to accomodate a force. Keep you tailbone tucked under. Support your back and head from below. Remember that gravity is not just a mere “fact of the planet.” It is a profound force and possibility.

Consider this deeply.*


*Peter Ralstson, Cheng Hsin: The Principles of Effortless Power, 10-15.

I will consider it deeply as I head out now for a walk with Honey Girl!