Posted by: dsduffy | July 9, 2013

Monkey mind


I always arrive ten minutes early, I like the spot on the right side of the room in the back. Some people are already on their mats, stretching, meditating, chatting with a friend. I place my water bottle on the ground within arm’s reach, sit cross-legged on my yoga mat and wait for class to start. I probably should be doing some stretches, sometimes I lean to the left, then to the right just to look like I know what I’m doing. 

The lights are lowered, soft music fills the room. I close my eyes, take deep breaths, try to enter into “yoga mode.”  No matter which instructor is teaching, they all have a similar message: quiet your mind. Focus on your breath, turn inwards. Turn off the outside world, turn off your mind. 

Each and every time I hear this message, I struggle. I honestly don’t know how to turn off my mind. I can’t even just think about one thing at a time, I am constantly going back and forth between different thoughts. It makes me tired just thinking about it, I wish I knew how to turn it off, or at least make it quieter. 

So I sit there. Legs crossed, back straight, hands resting on my knees, palms facing up. I sit there and I try to just think about my breath. That lasts for a mere half second and then my little monkey brain is back to work, full speed ahead, thinking about who knows what. 

And the more I try to turn off my mind? The more I think about…trails of thoughts double and triple up, criss crossing each other, intersecting and competing for my attention. Once in awhile I’ll peek out at people around me and wonder if they are doing it – are their minds clear? Are they just thinking about their breathing? Why can’t I? 

I keep trying. That’s all I can do. 

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