My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own

“Somewhere in this process you will come face-to-face with the sudden and shocking realization that you are completely crazy. Your mind is a shrieking gibbering madhouse on wheels barreling pell-mell down the hill utterly out of control and hopeless. No problem. You are not crazier than you were yesterday. It has always been this way and you just never noticed. You are also no crazier than everybody else around you. The only real difference is that you have confronted the situation they have not.”

― Henepola Gunaratana

I love this quote. It brings me great solace when I’m stressed out or anxious, when I’m depressed, when my mediation isn’t going quite the way I had hoped. When you think about it, you really have no control over what thought you’re going to think next. You might be at work, and suddenly a memory of a dream you had last night could surface. Or maybe you’re at the supermarket on a Tuesday and you find yourself planning the weekend. From what I understand, this is normal behavior for the average human mind.

When we meditate, we get a more intimate view of this process. By sitting and observing our thoughts (and not getting caught up in their stories), we can see the mind bubbling up all sorts of stuff from the unconscious. We also learn to let thoughts go and see just how impermanent they are.

196 days and counting…

Earlier this year I installed an app called Insight Timer. I had been meditating on and off for several months prior to the install and wanted to start keeping track of the time I was spending on the cushion.
Today I looked at my statistics and saw that I’ve meditated for the past 196 consecutive days. A lot has changed in that time. My wife and I have moved away from State College, PA where we both had lived for the past 14 years. Also during that time I lost one job and found another that I am much happier with.
There have been some less drastic changes as well, changes that I believe are a direct result of making meditation a daily practice. I find myself being less reactive in situations that would have made me upset/angry/annoyed in the past. I’m able to be more present for the people in my life both at home and at work.
From everything I’ve read, it’s apparent that the road to awakening is a long, difficult one. Even having just started on this path, I can already see that it’s the right path for me, and I am determined to follow it wherever it might lead.