It’s all the rage.
Meant to save you from your brain.
To calm your nerves.
To shut off.
For a long time, that wasn’t what was happening for me.
Trying to teach yourself meditation techniques you read about is kind of like baking a souffle: you have all the ingredients and none of the technique. You follow instructions but still it all falls flat.
Whenever I sat down and closed my eyes: BOOM goes my crazy. I was buzzing, thinking, frantic, scattered, my thoughts were moving, moving, moving. I closed my eyes and tried to think about nothing. Or count my breaths. Or repeat a mantra. I usually came up short. Standing back up, wide-eyed and more frazzled than before. I always wondered about the people who seemed so calm and claimed it was from daily mediation… seriously? I was crazed after my attempts.
My mind always works. It just runs on and on. Sometimes in circles, sometimes linear, sometimes at a goal… but always running. It even jogs in place, just to keep me occupied, never resting nor faltering. I’ve had moments where the run slows to a jog, maybe a walk… only to pick up pace again.
I know this isn’t unique to me. There wouldn’t be so many self-help, advice, or how-to’s out there if it wasn’t an issue. Calming the mind, reaching a state of inner peace… it all sounds so lovely and so… fucking hard.
The truth is that it is hard.
Our minds are hardwired to entertain us all damn day. If you spoke out loud your stream of consciousness, you’d be incarcerated or institutionalized depending on your mood. The “monkey mind” is always grabbing at branches, swinging from tree to tree, looking for something.
My mind scared me with how quickly can take a thought like “I should meditate this morning” and end up in a dark alley, behind the dumpster with thoughts surrounding the origin of the lizard poop on my floor.
Does the lizard poop from the ceiling and it drops and lands in that shape? Or does it slither along pooping while walking. Does it take any effort or is it like the pigeons back home, just dropping it when the urge arises? If pigeons were just a different color people would love them. Maybe purple? Exotic. Everyone loves exotic. Peacocks. Pigeoncocks. No. Why is there so much lizard poop? How did it get INSIDE my kindle? How many poops a day? The goat poop is weird too. Little tiny balls. Balls. BREAKFAST! I’m hungry.
I edited the above paragraph to fit on this page and give you a small snapshot. I would’ve gone on… but I don’t want to lose too many friends and readers. I’m reading American Psycho and an Anna Quindlen book about spousal abuse now, so it would’ve gotten weird up there.
My inner dialogue is a mix of schizoid tree-to-tree swinging, self talk, fantasies and a running essay for this website. None of which really achieves much throughout the day.
Anyways, my point is- what is my point? I’ve lost myself already.
The mind is always working
The point of meditation is not to stop it, not to simply observe but to focus it. Train it. Like going to the gym, lifting weights, focusing on one activity and one muscle group. The same thing, but your brain. And your brain
controls IS your perception of the world.
Your mind is your world.
Finally, after a few years of mild internal insanity, I’ve started to make some progress with the help of a particular course and lineage of meditation. Want to start? Get working. I recently attended a course in Java at a Dhamma Vipassana Centre to learn the methods of Vipassana meditation. Stay tuned for full disclosure on how that went over with my monkey mind.