This month I have been focusing on mindfulness and stilling the "monkey mind". I'm talking about the chatter that fills our heads with thoughts and emotions. Do you ever just find yourself walking or driving along without really knowing where you are going? When someone else is speaking to you are you really listening to that person or are you listening to your own thoughts? Are you letting your mind swing from one thought to the next? Are you worried about something you did, or something that you need to do? Does it feel like your head is full of drunken monkeys swinging from vine to vine, screeching, and flinging shit?
I know that a lot of students have a hard time with a yoga pose called savasana (corpse pose), which looks like a nap at the end of class. Part of the challenge of this pose is that one needs to be completely conscious and awake. The body becomes completely still and relaxed and the student needs to calm the monkey mind, stop the swinging, stop the screeching, and get those monkeys to stop and take notice of the present moment.
It helps to calm the mind by finding focus on the breath, the movement of the body with the breath, or bringing the focus of the mind to a mantra (a repeated saying - just silently to ourselves). "I am relaxed.. " "I am at peace.. " "I am strong.." "I am, I am, I am.." I am present in this very moment.
Once we still the chatter of the mind, and stop letting it wander aimlessly from vine to vine, we can find focus on what is important to us. We can stop worrying, and find solutions to our problems. Once we learn mindfulness ourselves, then we can teach it to our children and create a better future.