Each day from the time I open eyes on the world, I strive to stay in the moment. Reining in the mind is the single most difficult task I face here on earth.
When I was young, structured religion confused me – memorizing archaic texts that were open to interpretation by human beings, themselves fallible, soon lost its appeal. When I noticed my elders saying one thing and clearly doing another, my mother reminded me that it was not the people I should pay attention to but the teachings. Yet to a child’s mind – or to any thinking, vital mind at all – it has always been the living examples of truth that inspire one to explore and examine belief systems, changing them as needed to embrace a larger, more meaningful truth.
Most religions call for faith, and I give faith its due. However getting me through life’s challenges requires I examine what my thoughts create in every moment. Prayer is an effective way of communicating with the divine, but it is the act of contemplative sitting or movement that encourages me to calm the inner turmoil that all the faith in the world fails to quell. It is that monkey mind that is my greatest nemesis – and paradoxically, my greatest ally – if I can rein it in and master it constructively.
As soon as I sit with my thoughts, off my mind goes running – over the same glittering fields I have wandered in the past, as well as those I plan to explore in the future. This fixation on past/future is the ultimate mind game – preventing me from seizing the potential inherent in this moment. Anyone knows we can’t change the past. And none of us knows the future. A second from now, an earthquake could shake the foundation of my house and my life – and has!
Nothing is predictable, and this is what makes life anxiety provoking for so many people. Controlling runaway thoughts may not make me appear productive, but it grounds me in sanity; returning me repeatedly to all that is real and renewable in this, the present moment.