Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Training the mind to be quiet can seem to be an impossible task. It reminds me of a toddler who resists all efforts to get it to settle down. Often we can only watch until it finally runs out of steam and drops. Then we are able to gently pick it up and put it to bed. In children the "monkey mind" tends to show itself mainly by physical action, to an observer anyway. As adults, while we may appear to be calm and collected, all too often nothing could be farther from the truth. Internally there is usually way too much going on.

For some reason, this mind charged into the new year full of plans, ideas, opinions, places to go, things to do...Ooohhhh noooo! Where did this come from? Without realizing it I had been following the thing around for weeks, picking up every little thing that tickled it's fancy. Exhausting! Finally - thankfully - the momentum began to slow and that unexpected burst of erratic energy was spent. Only now can I reflect on this, while the mind is settled again. I understand that this state of relative calm and clarity is only temporary.

So, what can be learned? Can the duration, intensity, and resulting disruption be lessened in the future? What were the warning signs and how is it that I did not notice them? Or did I just dismiss them? Once I became aware of what was going on, did I apply too much pressure or not enough. The answers lie in the fact that this kind of energy is simply mind chasing after things, like an animal attracted to something shiny. When I think of it that way I can't help but just smile and nod. It is a matter of distractions that once again lured me in. Mind indulging in these things that arise. Reaching for the shiny trinkets. This is easier to see and understand now that the "monkey" is taking a break. Whether or not I will remember this lesson the next time remains to be seen.


Gary said...

Simply watching the mind without judging what occurs to be good or bad is the trick, isn't it, Kris? That and not acting on the thoughts and emotions that arise, just allowing them the space to be born, live and die of their own accord. As Ajahn Chah emphasized so often, let go, let go...of everything.

Gary at Forest Wisdom

puthujjana said...

Hi Gary,

Yes, a skill that certainly takes practice to develop. I continue to work on it. Thanks for your support and encouragement.