Something I discovered on Iona in the Abbey Church were images of a cat and a monkey, either side of a window.
From what I learned about these carvings, they represent the contemplative life and the active life. The cat is the contemplative; the monkey the active.
Through the week, I enjoyed playing with that idea. I would imagine most people regard contemplation as being all but asleep with little or nothing inside your mind.
But a cat is such a great challenge to that stereotype. Cats relax and doze, but when they do, they are always ready for action, poised but not tense, alert but not stressed, and the stillness is part of their preparation for action. If we could find that sort of stillness, how much more fulfilled might we be?
And the monkey for the active life is great. Monkeys can be cheeky, funny, playful, yet surprisingly tenacious and determined to obtain whatever it is they want. What a brilliant image for the active side of life. If only we could take life and ourselves a bit less seriously, I wonder how much healthier we might be.