I would really like to meditate. And I’ve tried. And I’ll keep trying. But I find it really, really hard to work-out my meditation muscle (i.e. your brain?). My thoughts run rampant and wild and trying to convince them to all just stay quiet while I breathe in two-three-four and out two-three— they are already up and running around and tumbling over each other and pushing each other out of the way vying for attention. My breath has no chance against the monkey brain.
When I’m finding it hard to quiet my brain, and very tempted to just drown out the noise with a Netflix binge, I turn to other things that pull me outside of myself (and away from the unruly monkey brain thoughts): enter illustrator Maira Kalman, poet Mary Oliver and art historian Sister Wendy. They always make me realise there are bigger and better and more wonderful things happening away from the dull roar of unnecessary (and sometimes petty) thoughts running amuck in my noggin. Here’s just a taste:
Images from Maira Kalman’s blog posts in The New York Times
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
These ladies are good.
Let me know what works for you when you need to ground yourself a bit and stop the go-go-go. What are the bananas for your monkey brain?