Thursday, May 31, 2012

the good part of having a monkey mind

People who use meditation to calm their mind and train their awareness of where their attention is often compare the usual mind to a monkey.  Or at least to a concept of a monkey, leaping around without focus or direction.  One of the surprises that people experience is how frequently the natural mind refreshes itself with a new topic, how much activity there is in the conscious mind.  Sitting sit for 10 minutes usually shows the mind's natural tendency to review, imagine, plan and daydream.

It can be refreshing to just experience body sensations and awareness of a sight and the sounds around one for a while without getting involved in any story.  But listening to "Where Good Ideas Come From" by Steven Johnson, I realize that the same nimble, jumping, jerky, tumbling, tossing mind enables me and the others in my species to invent language, transmit electricity and sell crops while exploring inner and outer space.  So, yes, quieting the mind, maybe especially an older mind that has plenty of memories and ideas stored in it, can be a very good idea.  But I am giving my nimble, energetic mind plenty of respect.  Its energy, movement among views, gliding along over my body is most of my experience of what and who I am.

Just as the eyes refresh themselves continuously, so does the mind.  New topics, new views, new worries are continuously being formed.  It is part of being a human capable of thought, invention and innovation.

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