Friday, April 29, 2011

The Speed of Thought

The human mind is an incredible thing. The speed with which our thoughts arise, move, change, transform, and fall away can often astound me. Because of the journey I’ve been on over the last period of time, I have been focusing on simplification, both externally, by purging myself of many of my possession, and internally, by trying to do a better job of focusing on the “here and now” and not letting my thoughts (the monkey mind) run away from.

I won’t kid you, it has been a struggle. If I had to characterize it, I would say that I went from being in the here and now 1 out of 10 moments to, maybe, 2 out of 10 moments. The main difference is that now I am often more aware of when the monkey mind has taken hold and is in the processing of running away with thoughts that are not real.

I got back from lunch a short while ago, and because it has been a quiet and very productive day, I decided to simply take a walk around the building. I was probably a quarter of the way into the walk when I realized that my monkey mind was in a complete runaway state. It was merrily dashing through all sorts of imaginative thoughts, good, bad, confused, and indifferent. I was deep down a tangent when the realization of it came to me.

It was so dazzling I was amazed as the speed and ferocity of that little monkey mind dashing all around. I took a series of deep breaths and concentrated, as best I could, and simply walking down the hallway without the monkey mind getting away from me. In itself that can be a difficult things because, what my mind did, instead of concentrating on being in the hallway, it started to write this article, right there, as I walked down the hallway and tried to focus the monkey mind on being in that moment, my mind was more than willing to skip ahead to this moment.

Like I said, it was pretty dang awesome. I managed to reel it in and get it focused so that I was able to simply walk down the hall, but it took an effort of will and it keep threatening to get away from me again.

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