Do you ever feel like things are out of control? Your mind is racing with the things you have to get done. Perhaps the left over task you didn’t accomplish the previous day. There are so many thoughts rushing through your head that you cannot concentrate on one specific thing. Add into the mix the judgement we place on ourselves for not accomplishing everything we wanted to do in a particular day. The little negative thoughts that do not help but somehow slip in.
That’s the Monkey Mind; the devious little monkey that chatters away until we cannot think straight. It happens to all of us. I am sure it even happened to the Buddha at least once. Or maybe not, but to us mere humans it is a constant affliction that we try again and again to overcome.
I sometimes find that even on my mat I am surrounded by a cloud of thoughts that swirls out of control.
I try my hardest to bring myself back to the present moment so that I may enjoy my practice. It is a challenge, but eventually I just focus on one thing – my breath.
I try to see the breath flowing from each part of my body.
I try to feel the texture of my breath as it slips through my nostrils; slightly cool on the inhale and a little warmer on the exhale having come from my lungs.
I take myself to my lungs and see if I can image them expanding with each breath; the rib cage accommodating that needed expansion.
I feel my shoulders slowly relax as I exhale – encouraging my body to release and let go.
I feel my heart beat, with each breath it slows down.
I then travel to my belly and try to squeeze it closer to my spine in order to press out any remaining breath.
Then I start over, but perhaps this time I start with my toes – can my toes breathe? Why not?
You can imagine anything; there are no limits to the imagination. Have fun!
The mind may still wonder – again that monkey mind, but I try to imagine those thoughts as clouds in a beautiful blue sky. I acknowledge them and then I let them pass. I place no judgement on them, or value, I just let them go.
Of course, this in on your mat, but I believe that the same principles can be applied no matter where you are. Just bring yourself back to your body and your breath. Allow yourself to focus on something as lovely as the sky – even if it is grey. There are textures to that grey. There are rabbits in those clouds. Or anything else you can imagine. Isn’t this fun? Try not to be so serious, let everything go.
Allow yourself a moment or two to just breathe and remember that your mind doesn’t control you, you are in charge. You can slow everything down by taking yourself to your breath.
And remember to always be kind – the world is harsh with judgements. Try to believe that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
You are perfect in your imperfections.