One of the first observations at a 10 day retreat is that you’re not in control of your own mind. It wanders in and out of thoughts and fantasies without a single concern for what you want it to do. It’s so easy to talk about the analogies of training a puppy, horse, or elephant but that hardly seems acceptable sometimes. Sure it’s a nice thing to laugh about when you’re chatting with other meditators, and it’s not that big of a deal when you’re sitting by yourself for 10 days of silence, but when you’re trying to make progress in your life it’s frustrating.
My strongest observation is just how hard I need to try to keep my mind on the right path throughout the day. If I relax just a little bit or allow myself to be distracted for just a moment l my mind will wander off and get into trouble. The second I notice my mind, as if it were a child just finished playing in the mud, walks up to me with his head down, knowing I’m disappointed in him, but with a smirk from ear to ear telling me he would do it again in an instant.
I guess its progress that I notice this at all. Before I was sitting consistently for 2 hours every day I was oblivious to the daily patterns of my mind. I was actually happy if I could just tame him for an hour of meditation a day. It was almost an agreement that if he we settle down for one hour a day I would let him wander without a leash for the rest of the day. So yes, this is progress, but it’s still often frustrating. I’m curious to see how this pattern changes in the months to come but I hope everyone knows they’re not the only one’s with minds who like to play in the mud. Back to the pillow for training session 1723.