My Meditation Monkey

Ever heard of a phenomenon called monkey mind?  It works like this: you sit to meditate but your mind quickly reveals a mind of it’s own.  Like an energetic simian in a fruit-filled tree, it jumps from here to there by way of legitimate, dubious and utterly non-existent connections.  It dazes and dazzles as you fluctuate between observing this chaos from a safe distance and getting swept  up into its channel-surfing swirl.

If there is any real help for this Buddhist understanding of Attention Deficit Disorder, I have yet to find it.  About 4 years ago I brought this to my teacher at that time.  He thought for a moment and said, “Perhaps it’s not monkey mind.”  Back then I thought this a brilliant insight, even though I was never able to use it.  More recently I came across this comment by Gaylon Ferguson:

Frequently we discover that our minds do not rest in radiant contentment for our entire meditation session. Why not? Because we have been training for years in desiring, reaching, grasping, getting, and then wanting more, and then, of course, more—all reinforcing the underlying feeling that this moment is not enough.

Ouch!  Never mind the “radiant contentment” crack.  He puts all responsibility for  this mess on me having become habituated to “more.”  He seems to be saying that I’m so greedy I can’t be sated by a mind crammed full of the awareness of my breathing or a mantra coupled with the sounds, smells, feel and visual field of my world.  I need to add heaping helpings of random pickings drawn from my history, speculation and imagination, from my collections of hope and fear,  from the whatever of whatever.

Were that true, were it all just about my unquenchable lust for the  diabolical more, then, it seems to me,  I could do a whole lot better than trying to remember who was sitting next to Phil Rizzuto in the picture of the 1955 New York Yankees.   It was probably Yogi Berra though.  Scooter and Yogi are both Italian, came up about the same time and hung out together.  I used to have a comic book about their friendship including something about one of them teaching the other a waltz step to be more graceful and efficient in picking a ball up off the ground and throwing it to first base.  Of course that could have been my comic book about Jackie Robinson and Peewee Reese.

Comic books were important to my growing up.  And bikes.  I hope to get my biking back together this spring.  That’s a hope I’ve entertained for 4 or 5 winters now only to see it dashed every time by monumental, bizarre and, I can assure you, undeserved accidents.  The most interesting was a neuroma which emerged after I slammed my foot into steps at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

I got this postcard, “Going Postal” by Kombui Olujimi there.  In the center is a 32 cent stamp featuring Alfred Hitchcock by the way.  Nowadays folks just write btw along with things like idk (I don’t know) and sy.   I just made up sy.  It stands for “sez you,” something not too many people say any more–at least not in the refined and repressed circles I inhabit.

That’s too bad.  Any word with a “Z” in it is actually sort of cool.  “X” also.  Who’d buy Xanax if it was called Danad or, even worse, Manam?  Even a “V.”  My best buddy back in the ‘6o’s and ’70’s, Marvin, was very proud of the “V” in his name.  Me, I don’t have any very cool letters.  “Very cool,” btw, could be reduced to “vc.”  and using it could even work as a criterion for coolness.  Folks out of the “vc” zone would see those letters and think automatically of the Viet Cong.  All this might fit into the category of age-ism, just as sensitivity toward demographic-based “isms” denotes yet another historically based category.

Nonetheless the Viet Cong were very cool, defeating the French and the Americans and, in a more subtle and profound way, the influence of the Chinese who, at least to me, are also vc–in my proposed new meaning, of course.  Actually it’s not all that new.  It’s a ’60’s formulation, and  that was way before the concussion–another one of those accidents I mentioned a while back.   Anyhow that’s probably why I work to help folks needing recovery from addictions.

I say “addictions” and not “drugs” because  most of my clients are actually addicted not to the stuff most people think of as addictive.  Last night before going to hear a really great guitar duo, Oltman & Newman–

a delightful name pairing btw–concert at Mannes School of Music which is part of the New School University–a pretty stupid name iyam (which stands for “if you ask me”)–we overheard the “Drugs never interested me” conversation of a couple sitting next to us.  It never occurred to them that addicts are actually addicted to views of themselves and the world and, yes, God, which if I held them, would certainly lead me to drug them away.  Yeah, they would.  Actually did…away…way away…

“Away in the Manger”  might have been the first Christmas carol I learned.  Maybe “Silent Night.”  Either way it makes me think of Carol Golden and Carol Pedini and Carol Dameron.  The last one eventually became a psychotherapist but, before that, dated a psychotherapist who claimed to  have played bass on the first album made by the Australian Jazz Quartet.  The original LP cover was orange.  It had a black and white photo of a sitting kangaroo repeated four times.  The guy once bought a nickel bag of reefer from me and paid with a bum check.  I don’t know why, the name “reefer,” I mean, but could probably look it up on Google–or Bing which would just give Google’s answers if Google’s lawyers are right.

Funny thing is, lawyers are never right.  They’re just clever and convincing.  Some of them though are actually nice.  That word “nice,”  it’s just so namby pamby.  Namby pamby could be reduced to np.  If someone texted you with np in it somewhere, would you know what was meant?  I wouldn’t, but then again (ta?) this is getting out of hand (ooh???.)

Write if you get work.  Hang by your thumbs.

Who said that?

Published in: on February 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm  Comments (7)