Friday, July 11, 2014

The 24 Hour Channel called 'Monkey Mind'


A learned professor of Asian religions traveled a long distance to visit a revered Zen master. The professor was excited by the opportunity to visit the master, and eager to share his theories on how this practice developed or another was influenced by some other teaching. He talked and talked and talked, until his throat was parched.

The master called for a tea tray, set out two cups and began to pour tea into the first cup, and poured and poured and poured. The tea filled and then overflowed the cup, spilled across the table and into the lap of the professor.

When people hear this story most will identify with the Zen master. We all know people like the professor, people who don’t know when to shut up. But the truth is that we’re very much like the professor, you and certainly me. It’s a human thing.

There's a commentator in my head, constantly regretting, planning, judging, worrying, fretting, feeling irritated, or fearful, angry or anxious, excited, happy, goofy or scolding. The voice in my head is like that visiting professor - it never shuts up.

Through practice I've learned how to quiet the commentator, at least some of the time. There are still days when it screams what an awful person I am and all I want to do is sit in a corner and sob, usually because I've said or done something that hurt someone else.

And when my commentator, what the Buddha called 'Monkey Mind', will not shut up and I have no strength or energy left to do battle with it, I have to shut it out, change the channel as it were. Sometimes this is through music or a dvd, not recommended ways to deal with the commentator but the best I can do at that particular time, and I leave working on taming my monkey mind to another day. Sometimes it works out well, and I like to think at any rate, patience may overcome what force cannot. A hot shower and a good night's sleep have been the cure for many a midnight's calamity.

Tao de Ching  Verse 15 

…when a man is in turmoil
how shall he find peace

Save by staying patient till the stream clears?

How can a man's life keep its course

If he will not let it flow?

Those who flow as life flows know

They need no other force:

They feel no wear, they feel no tear,

They need no mending, no repair.

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