Some cat books are catnip for the soul but The Dalai Lama’s Cat, a new novel by David Michie is best described as nirvana for the cat lover’s soul. Yes, dear reader we are blissed out by a transcendent book destined to be a classic in the vein of The Little Prince or The Alchemist.
Rescued from the mean streets of New Delhi by a staff member of the Dalai Lama, a Himalayan kitten finds her new life unfold as HHC, aka His Holiness’s Cat. HHC narrates her story in a fable filled with feline charm, wit and universal wisdom. Only a true cat lover and wise soul could have written this book. Michie, a best-selling author, meditation teacher and authority on Tibetan Buddhism is a life-long cat lover. The book was inspired by and is dedicated to Michie’s own Himalayan cat, Princess Wussik of the Sapphire Throne who died last year at age 17 before the book was published.
Like all good reads, I read it at breakneck speed. It left me stunned by its magic carpet ride of whimsy, humor and insights. So much so, I had to read it again, and enjoyed it even more. HHC’s cat’s-eye view of the world includes being privy to the Dalai Lama’s private audiences with celebrities, learned masters and Buddhist wannabees. She’s a cat with a pampered existence but has lessons to learn and teach the denizens of Dharamsala, India. On the surface it’s pure, simple entertainment but layered in sage metaphors. Every reader will enjoy a different layer. If you like books with charming cats, or themes of mindfulness, spirituality and the meaning of life, The Dalai Lama’s Cat is for you. The best way to achieve happiness is to give happiness to others and I believe this book will provide much happiness.
We’re delighted to offer our readers a deeper glimpse into the book with an exclusive author Q & A including three questions posed by Merlin and directed to HHC. Leave it to the cats to be brilliant! I thank David Michie for a lively email exchange with his signature grace, humor and generous spirit. We’re also purring to be able to give away 5 copies of The Dalai Lama’s Cat to 5 lucky readers!
Q & A with David Michie
LMW: How is your book similar to the parable/story-telling approach like The Alchemist?
DM: Of course I’d be very flattered by comparisons to The Alchemist. I guess I’m attempting much the same thing – to me, many of the most effective wisdom teachings are clothed in metaphor, because its such an effective way to communicate at both a conceptual and non conceptual level.
LMW: You transitioned from a business background to being a meditation teacher/writer/ financial and professional services PR consultant. How do you balance the many hats you wear?
DM: Because I am self employed, I can structure my day according to the Charles Handy ‘Portfolio working’ model, so I do some PR work to pay the bills/interact with the financial world, two hours of meditation each day because that’s my life’s priority, some teaching of meditation to corporate people with my partner Clare Goodman (see: www.organisationalmindfulness.com), and some writing, fiction and non fiction. I also teach meditation and Buddhism at our local centre: www.tibetanbuddhistsociety.com.au It all seems to work quite well together. My meditation corporate audiences appreciate the fact that I live in “the real world,” subject to the same stresses, deadlines, corporate politics etc. as they do. My corporate PR clients like to quiz me on meditation and Buddhism.
LMW: What is the main take away you’d like readers of The Dalai Lama’s Cat to have.
DM: The number one take away for me would be the importance of loving kindness. Thinking more about the welfare of others really is the most effective way to cultivate one’s own happiness – the wonderful paradox which HHDL describes as being ‘wisely selfish.’
LMW: The book ends with a delightful cliffhanger. What are you working on next?
DM: My next book is to be a follow up to The Dalai Lama’s Cat. Still early days, so I don’t have a title or outline yet.
Merlin naturally took an instant shine to the book…
as did wise old Gris Gris
but even young Odin was curious about its potential for happiness.
Merlin: Why do you think cats are culturally hot?
HHC: Culturally hot? We always have been, my dear. It’s just that social media lets humans communicate about cats in ways, which, up till now, they weren’t able to. After all, is it not the case that the ancient Egyptians used to worship us? How much ‘hotter’ can you get? What I do find interesting is a University of Texas study showing that cat lovers are more curious about unorthodox ideas and traditions than the more narrow minded perspectives held by lovers of those other, popular, domestic pets. This finding proves to me that that cat lovers are not only innately superior, but more open to the wisdom of the Buddhas than the population at large.
Merlin: What is the meaning of life for humans and what is the meaning of life for cats?
HHC: The meaning of life for humans and cats is the same: to be happy. And the most effective way to achieve happiness, paradoxically, is by focusing on the happiness of others. In my book I reveal a whole tool box of practices to help cultivate happiness. It’s up to each one of us to find the tools to suit us personally, where we are in our personal evolution at this particular moment. Cats and humans share the same wish for happiness. Interestingly, the same things give us pleasure – good food, a nice home, security as well as freedom. But both cats and humans are at their very happiest when they’re giving happiness to others – that is, the sound of one cat purring!
Merlin: What is the sound of one cat purring?
HHC: The bliss of the universe manifest here and now.
If you’d like to win a copy of The Dali Lama’s Cat, your chances are excellent. Simply “like” this post and leave a comment anytime before midnight EST, Nov.10, 2012. Five lucky winners will be announced on Nov. 11th! For extra karmic brownie points social media share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc.
If you must have a copy of The Dalai Lama’s Cat right now, for instant enjoyment.
Visit David Michie at www.DavidMichie.com
Follow David on Twitter @DavidMichieOm or follow HHC herself at @DalaiLamasCat. Connect with David Michie’s writer page on Facebook and The Dalai Lama’s Cat Facebook Page for the latest HHC news & wisdom.The Dalai Lama’s Cat Published 2012 by Hay House Trade paperback: 216 pages Rating: 4 Paws is our highest rating but in this case, the sky is the limit.
The winner of last week’s giveaway for a copy of Cats Can’t Shoot by Clea Simon is kittymama2. Congratulations! Look for an email from Layla firstname.lastname@example.org