Thursday, August 13, 2009

Monkey Brain Tsunami

When the shit hits the fan, some of this spiritual crap doesn't always seem to cut the mustard. But I'm thinking that maybe the tougher times might be exactly the time it does.

Non-judgment is something that I've been knocking my head into most of my life and it seems to me to be a primary theme of many belief systems, ostensibly anyway. And in some teachings, it's also described as non-resistance, or to simplify-- just freaking relaxing.

What if one of the big so-called secrets of life really is that simple? Just let go. That's it. Let go. Just freaking relax.

Could it really be that basic? And to boot, it's not even saying let's worry about the "Let God" part of the commonly voiced equation, however you define that. If you let go, the other part happens anway. Or so it seems...

Perhaps. I'm still mid-observation on that.

But as I continue my peculiar observations, I keep finding that the wisdom that is most worth embodying, is often the simplest. But this is not to be confused with the fact that the simplest things are often the hardest. And I think the phrase "JUST let go" could do without the "JUST." It ain't a "JUST" do something situation. Not with our monkey brains.

Taking the seat of the observer within myself, as in meditation, the arising and passing of all the crazy mind-stuff can be seen. In meditation, you bring your attention to a one-pointed focus on the breath moving in and moving out. Nothing else. Inevitably, the constantly spinning mind reveals itself.

I meditate watching the breath without thinking-- just noting: IN... OUT... IN... OUT... and then the spinning mind-stuff comes up. IN... "I'm hungry... Ooh, that itches, scratch that..." OUT... IN... "Did I pay the electric? Oh yeah-- note 'planning'... back to the breath..." OUT... IN.... OUT... "You know, she never even returned my call... oh yeah, noting the anger arising, back to the breath..." IN... OUT... And on and on. The spinning mind.

I recently heard a secondhand story of a monk who refers to that spinning mind as our "monkey brain." I love that. The evolutionary lingering of all these needless fight-or-flight kneejerk mind impulses that are ultimately about survival stuff that our minds do is just funny. And frustrating. But only because I'm resisting it and not relaxing (love those catch 22s).

Craving, aversion, craving, aversion... thousands of these mind moments, on a minute by minute, even second by second basis. Almost totally unseen. And we also unconsciously react.

Doctors talk about "stress" in this broad way and how it causes bad shit to happen. What if we dismantled the stress function? I'm not saying losing our inner-guidance system or our ability to know when we're moving toward or away from love and who we truly are.

But what if we got still and peaceful enough inwardly that the shit could hit the fan and we wouldn't be rocked. Or even knocked. What if the rejection came, the illness showed up, the let-down happened... what if the biggest tsunamis hit... and rather than panic, we noted it. Just like in mediation. Taking the seat of the observer and saying "Ah, tsumani. Back to the breath." Not as a means of evasion or denial. Just as a means of staying calm and not panicking. Like, in my life.

And not making everything so personal really helps me in a very personal way.

I have an insane headache right now. And it's interesting to take a migraine and watch the panic come up and the resistance. And sometimes all I can do is go "Ah, panic. Resistance. Fear." But noting the situation is a step toward freedom. Because in that moment, it's not "MY panic" and it's not "I" am afraid. It's just the motion of the tide. "Ah, here's this sensation." And I gently move into it and see what it's made of. In the case of this headache, it's made of pulsing, dense sensations with sort of a rounded quality.

When you look at what something really is, and you pause from the busy schedule of "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD THE TSUNAMI..." it just allows more space and freedom. And I think maybe that's what we're built for. Freedom.

I'll finish writing this minor tome and totally forget all of it and get totally lost and start panicking about five things that will just have my guts for lunch. But then I'll just have one moment mid-panic of "Ah, observing panic." And that's all it takes sometimes. To have another moment of perspective. Which is another step toward freedom. And within that space, I can start to get better at it.

Some places I stay very blocked. Some places I feel like I need to. As I mentioned previously, any yoga teacher I've ever had who was worth their salt will tell you-- you do the pose to your own degree. Diving too deeply into a stretch your body isn't ready to do will only tear and damage things.

And I know this is getting long. But sometimes I have to work my around a subject to get to the center of it. (Thanks for making it this far.)

I think the reason we're designed for freedom and space is because we're built to love. And when the chattering "monkey brain" mind starts to quiet down a little, that space that is freed is heart space. Which is who we really are.

When the resistance, in whatever form it's currently taking, falls away in a given moment, I think it's like removing stones from the dam and what floods in is love. And it feels like freedom because love is what we are.

And when you consider that we're literally made of light, made of stars, all basically made of the same stuff, it's cool to think about how we basically ARE each other.

There's so much mystery in the universe. And when you take the time to turn and look inward, there's a chance to see everything. The universe we're in seems to be inside us.

There have been a number of different studies that successfully showed when a mass of people would meditate together in an urban area, crime would decrease significantly among other notable positive effects. And I like to think that maybe, since we're all made of the same stuff, that just by helping myself in this way-- taking the time to get still, cutting myself a break-- and doing the sometimes surprisingly hard work of letting go, just maybe... it helps everyone a little.

No comments:

Post a Comment