Tame your monkey mind.
I’m sure you’ve heard the news- mediation is good for you. Not only are spiritual gurus and Buddhists across the world touting its usefulness, but the scientists are getting on board as well. Your doctor might even recommend that you give it a try to help with high blood pressure or to relieve stress-related symptoms.
So what if you’ve given it a try, only to find that the moment your keyster hits the cushion, your mind is racing off in a thousand directions. You tell yourself to stop thinking, but your brain insists that it’s way more important to consider what you should eat for dinner, what your boss said to you this morning, or whether you should have worn these shoes today. On top of that, any itch or pain that you didn’t notice all day long becomes maddeningly distracting. You fight the urge to stay still, but you’ve got to scratch that itch! What’s the matter with us? Are our brains different and therefore meditation resistant?
No. The truth is, with advances in technology and fast-paced work and active lives, our brains are constantly active. Our “rest” has changed from playing cards with a buddy or reading a book, to watching TV, playing video games, or scrolling through facebook. Our “rest” doesn’t actually give our brains a chance to rejuvenate. Our bodies are still, but our minds are still moving at racing speed. It’s no wonder that sitting down to meditation and forcing ourselves to “stop thinking” doesn’t work. It’s like trying to bring a spaceship to a screeching halt from ludicrous speed.
There are many different ways to meditate. Before you attempt to sit in silence for 30 minutes at a time (this is advanced!), there are some exercises you can do to prepare yourself and get into the practice of being centered. With a little bit of practice you will find that you have the tools to slow down your mind on demand and even drop into a state of complete calm and peace in stressful situations. You will learn how to sit in a silent meditation.
Join me on Tuesdays, in Kailua Beach Park, starting December 16 to learn and practice some mindfulness techniques to get you started. We will review several different (and FUN) strategies including guided meditation, mantras and more.
The group will start at 5pm and go for 30 to 45 minutes. We will begin with a short introduction, go through a mindfulness exercise and finish with a short 5 minute silent meditation.
Bring a towel, a pillow or a chair for your bottom and wear something comfortable if you can.
Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong.