Parenting My Mind

Those of you who have been regularly following along know that I’ve been exploring Buddhism. Part of that exploration is developing a daily practice of silent meditation every morning.

Last night at a meeting (not of Buddhists!) someone mentioned “monkey mind,” and I nearly jumped out of my seat! In some ways it can aptly describe what happens when one makes attempts at quieting the mind. OK, when this one (namely me!) does so. I’m looking at it in a slightly different way, though.

Here is another perfect opportunity for me to be the parent to myself that I have needed. At that meeting last night, the person who said “monkey mind” also had another interesting description (she must have studied Buddhism somewhere!). She described it as “a baby who crawls off the blanket.” So, the baby crawls off the blanket, and we pick the child up and place the infant back in the center of the blanket. And of course, babies being babies, tend to crawl off the blanket again, because babies want to explore. And wander. And sometimes they just want to crawl!

My baby was very active this morning. I think he spent more time off the blanket than on. The wonderful thing is that I am learning to let that baby wander a little, and then place him back in the center, however many times I need to. I lost count this morning. At least I have learned how to do it gently, and that babies do not need to be scolded for being babies!

When I was re-learning how to sleep this past spring and summer, my first tendency was to be a harsh parent with myself. When I discovered that this approach was getting me nowhere, I decided to do something else. Amazing how that works, now…

I am working on memorizing 600 names right now. No small task. I really want to be able to look every child in the eye, and call them by name. If I were the student, I would love that gift. Nick Haynes on NLP Connections suggests that if I am kind to my “internal librarian,” he might be more likely to retrieve the information in an efficient manner. Well, I treated my librarian that way last year, and didn’t do quite as good a job with those names as I like. So, the moral of the story is that the model doesn’t always fit for every situation, now does it? However, back to babies and blankets…

How many ways can you be kind and gentle with yourself today, to help nurture and cultivate the attention that you know will bring about so much positive change? And when your baby sees a shiny object on the edge of the blanket, you may let the child explore a little, but just gently lift her up and set her back in the center. Then, you might decide that it’s time to give that child some attention…

Be well, and at peace,

Phil

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