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Carl’s Monkey Mind

The meditation bell rings and then fades. My eyelids are resting half open, half closed. Movement and sound all around me as the hall begins to empty. Now I am alone. In front of me a softly lit statue of Shakyamuni Buddha sits peacefully. I watch the flow of breath in and out of my body; the warm glow of the setting sun is casting moving patterns across the back of my eyelids. I have been sat cross legged for one hour now. The sensations in my legs dart up to my hips. Deep. Blue. I just watch. My solitude is short lived; here comes the monkey again.

‘Come ooooonnn, MOVE. This is AGONY.’ Jumping, tumbling, pleading. The monkey wants to be anywhere but here, anywhere but with this pain. A burst of sensations across my shoulder blades. Dazzling fireworks across my upper back. Red. Orange. ‘Ahhhhh, come ONNNN, get up. We should be in bed; everyone else has left.’ The monkey is louder now. Always persistent; demanding attention. I bring my awareness to him. I calm him and soothe him. My body is stiff; a vessel full of changing patterns and colours. My mind is plagued by this monkey. ‘If you just MOVE then all this suffering would be over’, he screams.

Brute force is one option, but I know aggression will only feed the fire. I choose to engage with the screaming animal. I’ll listen to his story. As I show him I mean no harm, his tone begins to change. Softly, he whispers, ‘I just want to be comfortable. Doesn’t everyone?’. ‘I understand’, I respond. He winces as a dull green pattern throbs in my lower back and is reflected in his eyes. I promise to take care of him, and reassure him that all things that come into being will eventually fade away. With my arm around him we sit back and watch the show, one breath at a time. Moment. To. Moment.

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