Frustrated I couldn’t tame my monkey mind long enough to write, I attempted meditation.
I can run marathons.
I can write my ideas. (Rewriting is another matter.)
Meditation? This could break me.
I’m not one to sit still easily, so this was a challenge. Perhaps if I meditate, it might calm my mind long enough for words to flow onto the page. I try to write every day, but on this day, I wasn’t feeling it until I remembered the wisdom of Mr. Jack Kornfield, a widely respected meditation teacher.
I was dog-sitting our friends’ puppy, Roja, a beautiful then-16 month Wirehair Pointer Griffon/Shepherd mix. I began my yoga routine at home with the intent of concluding with a 15-minute meditation.
While in a downward-facing dog, Roja kissed, crawled, jumped, and otherwise did her doggie yoga version. I violated the first rule of dogs - once you are on the floor, the dog has you!
Then I remembered Jack’s quote. “Meditation and calming the mind is like training a puppy…you have to put your thoughts in the corner gently.”
So I gently pushed Roja away and calmly told her I needed to meditate. She wagged her tail and cocked her head.
I began again. Once I closed my eyes, Roja was kissing my face. Once again, I gently pushed her away and told her to lie down.
I mustered all the focus I could towards my meditation, forcing those thoughts to the corner, desperately reaching for calmness if it killed me. I sat cross-legged. I took a deep breath, and after a few moments, the energy was calm. And quiet. Too quiet.
That’s when I got nervous with curiosity. I wanted to open my eyes but remained present with my practice. Then my mind wandered, feeling the all too familiar feeling of panic from silence, like the anxious rush of forcing words onto a page.
So I opened my eyes slightly and saw Roja, sitting upright, two feet away from me, staring at me, waiting for me. Whew. I closed my eyes again and calmly resumed.
After a few hours (because, in reality, a meditation minute feels like an hour), anxious curiosity hits again. It’s too quiet. What is Roja doing, is she is in the trash?
I barely cracked my eyes open. Roja was nose to nose with me, literally. She was still; I barely felt her breath. How did she manage to move so close, and I didn’t notice it?!
The staredown began, neither of us blinking, testing who would move first. I wanted to burst into laughter but thought best not to interrupt Roja’s meditation. I smiled gently, sat in lotus, open palms to the sky on my knees. I closed my eyes—a few more deep breaths.
Then I felt something in my open palms. I peeked down, and careful to avoid Roja’s gaze or move, I saw her paw in my hand. We were holding paws! I summoned all strength not to break and just hug this magnificent soul.
I closed my eyes and continued to meditate, paw in paw. It was blissful silence, hearing her breath in sync with mine. I barely made it through my 15 minutes of meditation, but I did it. Well, we did it.
Writing, like meditation, takes patience, compassion, time, consistency.
And yes, it was very much like training a puppy, I thought as I returned to my writing desk.