Even the Dalai Lama

My late mother-in-law of my late wife used to have a habit when we took her for rides in the car. She would say out loud every sign passed on the road no matter how inane. On and on her words recited yield, caution, deer crossing, stop, dead end, detour and so on.

I want my mind to stop for a while and take a rest. I hear constant commentary about everything. Some days I can ignore and other days I am front row center listening to every thought. I believe it’s my ego of my inner child, my teenager, my adult, watching, listening, worrying, procrastinating, planning, reacting, judging. It’s a skill I’m learning to sort out what’s useful and what’s not. I used to believe the goal was to shut it down but truth told I need my ego to work with my heart so we function wholly. A merging of sorts honoring all of me.

The concept of managing my thoughts was a gift I received from Dr. Susan Jeffers’ book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. It is a life-long job sorting out what’s useful and what is not in the ongoing cacophony. Some days I’m better than others. Other days, I am exhausted because I can’t stop listening.

Sarah Wilson wrote a book entitled First We Make the Beast Beautiful, a new story about anxiety. Within the first few pages she writes of a conversation with the Dalai Lama. She asked him how he gets his mind to shut up. I quote -

‘There’s no use,’ he tells me. ‘Silly! Impossible to achieve! If you can do it, great. If not, big waste of time.’”
“But surely you can do it, I say."
”’Noooo. If I sit in a cave for a year on mountain, then maybe I do it. But no guarantee.’ He waves his hand. ‘Anyway, I don’t have time.’ He has better things to do, he tells me. Like teaching altruism to massive crowds around the world.”

My lifelong job is to cultivate peace of mind by managing my inner chatter. I believe I get better in time and choose not to buy in to the noisy setbacks. One step forward two steps back. I am headed in the right direction. Awareness is the key.


And what about this boulder,

knocked off the moutaintop and

tumbled down a thousand years ago

to lodge against the streambank,

does it waste itself with worry

about how things are going

to turn out? Does the current

slicing around it stop itself mid-

stream because it can’t get past

all it’s left behind back at

the source or up in the clouds