Not a bad thing

I meditate. Sometimes in the lotus position. Sometimes seated in the back row of the bus on the way to work, my legs stretched out in front of me. Sometimes walking a lovely labyrinth mowed into a sloping field of prairie grass at Clare's Well. I think I still have what Buddhists called a beginner's mind, which isn't a bad thing.

Lately, meditating's been a little hard. I've found some guided meditations online that help. I like this one with Jon Kabat-Zinn. Problem is I keep falling asleep, which I suppose isn't entirely a bad thing when you're under doctor's orders to rest your brain, but it's not quite the same thing as meditating, which I really like.

Today I read something about the concept of Monkey Brain. That's where you have all kinds of thoughts brachiating* around your head when you're trying to quiet your mind. Zenlike folk suggest you simply acknowledge these distractions and return to meditating.

So one time I tried a little something to help with Monkey Brain, and I found that it worked like a charm.

As soon as the "monkeys" started clammering for attention, I told them they were welcome to stay but they'd need to be quiet. One by one, with puzzled looks on their faces as only monkeys can get, they stopped swinging and chattering and came and sat down around me to watch. I admit, it was a little strange to have an audience of monkeys observing me meditate. But they did quiet down and so did I, which isn't a bad thing.

*Is this not the coolest term? I first heard it when I was an anthropology major at the University of Texas at Austin and a professor demonstrated brachiation in front of a class of 500. That was one term no one missed on the final exam.


A beginner's mind is a beautiful, precious thing!

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