Usually, in the evening when my medication has fully kicked it, I like to kick back and let my mind wander with the hope that something blog-worthy might magically appear. Most of the time I have quite a fertile imagination (aka dirty mind), with no end to all the strange shit that floats through my mind. That was a big problem when I was into Buddhist meditation: Vipassana or Insight Meditation. The practice consisted of sitting quietly and focusing one’s attention on the in-breath and out-breath, noting the rising and falling of each breath in the body. Pretty easy. Problem was, after 15 to 20 seconds of that a thought would enter my mind like: I wonder what I’m gonna have for dinner tonight? Let’s see. What sounds good? Do I have it in the house or am I gonna have to go to the store (a real bummer); and while I’m there what else do I need? Might as well pickup some of this and some of that – sure hate to run out. And, hey whoa…I’m not following my breath. I’m planning out my whole evening with all the likes and dislikes attached to each option.
So, for another 30 or so seconds I manage to focus on my breath when sure as shit another thought comes to mind and we’re off to the races again. After a while I can see a pattern developing and become aware when I’m focused elsewhere. The Buddhists call it Monkey Mind The key to dealing with all this monkey business is to observe it, name it (thinking), let it go and gently return to the breath and the present moment.
Mindfulness is becoming a popular term these days, especially after enduring four years of mindlessness, and basically consists of staying in the present moment, not attaching any positive or negative value to anything that arises, and not reliving the past or anticipating the future.
The Buddhists also talk a lot about suffering, which makes me wonder if America is still (if it ever was) a christian nation cause we’ve been suffering a long long time and would like the present moment to quickly turn better. But this is enough of that. If you’ve gotten this far, surely you have suffered enough.