Pause for Reflection…

Monkey mind explosion

Indulge me if you will, whilst I tell you about what turned out to be the last time that I would practice the Buddhist walking meditation…

I can’t recall the exact date, but I do remember the location and that it was a dreary grey sort of day and I was rather nonplussed by that as it was early Autumn and in the weeks before, I’d imagined that I would be outside standing in that last gasp of Summer sun that watches the leaves throw out a swan song of colours before they depart… But instead… it was drab and almost on the brink of drizzle…

I was stood in a court yard behind an Abbey with a group of people… This was supposed to be a day retreat… yet my head was thumping… early afternoon and stranded for a few more hours before I could just drive home and I was weary… weary from the noise of people talking all morning… blah blah blah… I craved silence but instead I seemed to be surrounded by a chorus of dippy hippy clap trap and chants which basically sounded like – I art more spiritual than thou…

I’m an irascible old bitch at the best of times… but put me in a room full of people, who want to talk talk talk about how good they are at meditating… oh! I can do a whole hour now! every day! Oh really… I’ve built up to 90 minutes now… morning and evening… Yes lovely… well I have these mala beads handcrafted and fashioned from the sweat of the dali lama that was collected by hand maidens during… ok… i’m exaggerating now… but maybe not quite as much as you might think… But you get the picture… Trapped in a room that seemed to have turned in to a pissing contest and a game of metaphysical top trumps… and I stifled my laughter as it struck me just how competitive people are in supposedly non-competitive pastimes…

So… in the afternoon, I was glad to be outside, despite the imminent threat of rain… but then my heart sank…

We are going to do the Buddhist walking meditation…

Oh…no… Not again! I’d done it many times… I hated it… I hated it more each time I did it… That forced slowness… Yeah… I know… I know… it’s supposed to make you feel fully focused in the present… to rein in the monkey mind that likes to swing from branch to branch…

But every single time, I’d tried this practice… It drove me nuts…

FUCK!!! It made me over present!!! Aware of every irritation and annoyance… Monkey mind gibber gabbering… I want to walk faster… is that person going to change direction or will they walk into me… I wonder what’s for tea… I wish I hadn’t worn this bra today… I don’t even like this bra… I don’t know why I haven’t thrown it away… why am I keeping it… I wonder what time it is… I feel a bit thirsty… oh… my nose itches… damn… my pants are riding up my ass… how long does this go on for… why am I so grumpy… am I grumpy… what am I doing here… you’ve come to relax… hahahahaha… shhhhhhhh….. you’re not supposed to laugh in yoga… shhhhh….. stop it…. stop it…. no laughing…. not even when someone farts during salute to the sun… no… serene face… no sniggers… pretend you didn’t hear it…ha!!! but I can smell it… hahahahaha!!! stop it!!! stop it!!!! you’re rubbish at this!!!

And every time… I would think… OK… maybe you’ll crack this next time…

So… stood in the court yard… feeling heavy of heart and a head filled with a resigned silent sigh… slowly I placed one foot in front of the other… slow deliberate… s…t…e…p…s…

My peripheral vision filled by what looked like shuffling corpses… and off in the distance… a drone… a droning voice… that supposedly soothing monotone that delivers a guided meditation…

Feel… each… point…of your foot… as it makes contact…with the ground… feel yourself present… feel as you walk… feel your journey… where are you heading… feel…

FUCK!!! This hurts!!! I’m hobbling over god damn cobblestones!!! I’m carrying an old ankle injury that is screaming STOP IT!!! STOP!!!! PAIN!!!! LISTEN TO THE PAIN!!! AND STANDSTILL!!!

I stopped… motionless…

Behind me the voice drifted on… keep moving on your journey… keep walking…slowly…s…l…o…w…

Oh! Piss off!! I remained perfectly still and looked down… a whole trestle full of plant pots and seedlings…. green… green… green… I’m sure green has more tones than any other colour… life sprouting all around… ha! plants don’t walk… they grow…

I looked at their leaves… I looked at their textures… I took in the smell…

Keep walking…

Meh… no thanks… I like the view right here…

And then the strangest thing happened…

My mind went quiet… it stilled… it paused… monkey… where have you gone…

Whoosh…. a supernova… thoughts exploded and radiated out in every single direction… simultaneously… all at once… they felt to touch the very edge of the cosmos… a billion thoughts… a cosmic super highway… an extreme sense of knowing and being… but not one single word or memory of what they were…

I felt myself suddenly back in the courtyard… stood on those cobbles and I wiggled my toes and lifted my right foot to circle and rotate and stretch out that right ankle that had spoken to me… I wandered off, away from the group and found a quite bench under a tree to just sit…

And I asked myself… mmm…. what happened there…

Silence…

Then monkey came back…

Karen… you’ve just discovered the sublime joy of opting out…

The deliciousness of NO!

 

 

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