Getting Past my Monkey Mind


Can otters meditate? (Yes. Obviously.)

It’s winter. My hands are dry and the skin near the top corners of my fingernails is starting to crack. My feet are cold. My back itches. I’m hungry and I don’t know what to eat for lunch. These are the profound thoughts that went through my mind this morning while I lay on my meditation cushion, trying to pay attention to the present moment.

When I took a meditation class, I asked the meditation teacher, “What if the present moment sucks?” She smiled and suggested I pay attention to it anyway. This made me cranky, which gave me another thing to notice while I meditated.  Eventually I realized that everything is just another thing to notice. Also, that my mind is a jabbering monkey with a touch of OCD and a talent for remembering the lyrics of the worst pop songs ever in excruciating detail. (I will not name songs, but some artists that come up frequently are: Meatloaf, Rod Stewart, Dr. Hook, and Dan Fogelberg. Do not click on these links if you value your sanity.)

So what does this have to do with writing? For me, the connection is with my crazy, jumpy monkey mind. It can be my worst enemy, telling me that my work sucks and why don’t I burn all my notebooks and go do something useful. Or I can see those thoughts for what they are– just thoughts– and decide to ignore them, and get back to figuring out how my main character is going to defeat the evil robot army and reclaim her planet for otterkind. Because I have practiced noticing and letting go of thoughts while I meditate, even when I’m not meditating, I can let go of those unproductive thoughts and get back to writing. Sometimes. I guess that’s why I still need to practice.

Photo Credit

Photo Méditation by jacme31 via flickr and licensed under CC 2.0