Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle once said that he had met many Zen masters in his life, and most of them were cats. Cats bring a special energy to a household and have a grounding, centering effect. They also teach us many valuable life lessons; here are some of their most valuable teachings:

Being present. A cat does not plan over overthink their day. Every activity is embraced fully, and one leads to the next. From having a good meal to lounging in the sun to playing with a favorite toy, cats are masters of “going with the flow.”

Gratitude. Cats are also grateful for every treat, every scratch on the head, and every chance to smell fresh air through an open window. They take nothing for granted, and they don’t say “What if…” Every gift is appreciated and savored on its own merit.

Giving and receiving affection. Few cats will turn down being brushed or petted, and they’ll return the favor in kind by purring, leaning into you, rubbing on you, and trying to climb in your lap. Cats teach us much about being generous with affection, and being open to receiving it as well.

Healthy boundaries. That said, a cat will not hesitate to retreat or withdraw when some rejuvenating “alone time” is needed. They relish their time with people and other cats, but they also know when it’s time to recharge their battery. A long nap in a favorite hiding place usually does the trick.

Take time to play. When a playful mood strikes, cats are “all-in.” No matter if they look a little silly chasing that laser pointer dot or shadow on the wall; it’s all about embracing the joy of the moment.

Tune into these cat qualities and enjoy a happier, more centered, and more balanced life.