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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Monkey-Mind


I don't know about you, but I have a very busy mind. "Monkey-mind" it is often called. Oh, it's bad: unsettled, restless, capricious, whimsical, fanciful, inconstant, confused, indecisive, uncontrollable---all that and more, just what the great gurus of the world absolutely dread.

My friend suggested to me, "Why don't you meditate?"

"Sure, okay." I'll try anything once.

image from thewondrous.com

"Make up a mantra about the stillness of your mind," she continued, after my interruption.

"I could do that," I affirmed, mostly in an attempt to convince myself of the far-fetched possibility of taming the wild beast, all the while doubting what I heard come out of my own mouth. "I'll do a walking meditation."

So tonight is the night. A warm summer evening when I don't even have to wear a jacket. This is my kind of weather. I step out into the darkness and look into the night sky. I could see Mars to the west. Apparently there is some powerful alignment with Saturn going on right now, of which I need to be aware. Hey, I'm open.

Okay, a mantra.

"My mind is still
and I'm in my heart.
My mind is still
and I'm in my heart."

I wonder which star is Saturn. Just like that --- I catch my mind wandering. Sheesh, that was fast. Didn't even get through the mantra three times!

I repeat the mantra again, then I find myself pondering how the street lights interfere with how many stars are visible in the night sky because of the artificial lights.

Hey, back to the mantra, girl!

I'm a half a block from home and I start to feel vulnerable. It's dark and car lights appear down the block. Okay, I can factor my safety into the mantra, no problem.

"My mind is still
and I'm in my heart
and I am safe."

I stumble through that one a few times, impressed with my adaptive ingenuity.

"My mind is safe and my heart is still." Hey, that's not how it goes! Doggedly, I start over. As I approach the end of the block, I grapple again with the mantra then conclude, "Hey, I never was any good at this memorizing stuff. So why think I could 'get it' now at this late date?" Nevertheless, I plough through it again...and again.

I mow through the mantra: three lines multiply by three times. That's nine lines. Some kind of record, I'm sure.

A car zooms by, then another one. I carry my smartphone with me. I'm one button away from help, if I need it. I cross the street. I'll walk a bit further. Getting my confidence now!

"My mind is still
and I'm in my heart
and I am safe."

It occurs to me that if I am feeling fearful, I can't possibly be in my heart. Oh sheesh, I'm going home. This mantra stuff is for the birds and they're all asleep by now!

But hey, I bet my friend will be proud how I attempted a walking meditation. I observed my mind as it wandered all over the place. My mind isn't so much a monkey-mind as an acrobatic mind!

It's a wonder I get any sleep! I suppose my busy brain collapses from sheer exhaustion at the end of a day.

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