More Monkey Mind: Finding Clarity in the Muck

It would be fair to say that over the past few days my life has begun to resemble a lamentably bad country and western song:

“My boyfriend left and the car won’t start.  My battery’s dead, I gots a broke down heart…”

So cue the violins.  Stuff happens.  Here’s the thing.  Yesterday I wrote about how Monkey Mind will mess with your head by encouraging you to re-live your mistakes in an endless Groundhog Day-esque loop.

But that’s not her only talent.

When I stepped out the door this morning I expected today to be like most Wednesdays:  I should have been on the road to see clients in Saratoga by 8:15, back to Palo Alto for a 12:45 appointment, up the road for two back to back classes, home for dinner, out to the studio to teach the 7:30 class, home to bed.

But when I slipped the key into the ignition and heard the glurg, glurg, glurg of an engine that had no intention of delivering me to my appointed rounds, Monkey Mind took her cue and started chattering:

“Oh, it’s probably the starter.  Do you have any idea how much that is going to cost?  You’ll probably have to cancel all your clients today…and tomorrow…maybe even Friday!  Your clients won’t want to see you again.  You’re too unreliable.  And you’ll have to call a tow truck.  Do you know how hard it is to call a tow truck?  And that will cost money, too.  Do you have any money?  You don’t have money, do you? Oh and don’t forget about rental car you’ll need while yours is being repaired.  You might as well kiss your savings goodbye…”

And so on.  My little Monkey Mind bounced from one scenario to another – all of them bad.  It would have been easy to just submit to the chatter and allow myself to become more and more wound up, anxious and frustrated.  I mean, that’s what we do, right?  Life hands us a bit of unpleasantness and we give in to it.  We listen to Monkey Mind.

Not so fast.  Maybe we don’t listen to Monkey Mind.  Maybe we see through Monkey Mind’s games and choose an alternative course.

This morning I gave Ms. Monkey about ten minutes of my time before I sat down, closed my eyes and took a few breaths.  And then I found the number for Honda Care’s roadside service.  I rang and the tow truck arrived within thirty minutes.  The driver charged my battery.  I drove to my dealership and purchased a replacement.  Yes, I missed my clients in Saratoga but the rest of the day went pretty much according to plan.

So stick that banana in your pipe and smoke it, Monkey Mind!

I’m not going to try to convince you that today is one of my better days.  But it’s far from the crisis my chattering Monkey Mind wanted to create.  It’s just been a day.  One simple, human day.

Like most habits we are trying to build or break, creating a daily meditation practice is a process full of ups and downs.  I always understood that part of the process was being diligent about setting aside time each to practice.  But I also need to welcome opportunities that allow me to weave what I’m learning into the fabric of my day-to-day life.

When we step back from the muck occasionally thrown our way and examine our lives from the edge rather than the center it becomes clear that the work we’re doing is powerful and transformative.

I know that Monkey Mind will always be lurking.  But today I discovered that she’s no match for me.

One thought on “More Monkey Mind: Finding Clarity in the Muck

  1. Kathleen

    I love the movie Groundhog Day. And it seems to be very appropriate to the lessons you are learning right now, that things seem different when you look at them from the edge, rather than the center.


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