I am in the office today .. one day a week I have this little temple of sanity to write and ponder and do. This morning was totally productive .. I managed to get loads of tasks ticked off. But after lunch (which was only a light salad) I found it really difficult to concentrate. Despite a little walk outside for some sunshine and fresh air, I found myself struggling to reconnect with my projects AND I noticed a loud and incessant amount of chatter in my mind. Monkey mind. I know this friend well!
So I decided the best use of my time .. was to meditate
I have a meditation timer on my iPhone that I use almost every day (Zazen Lite, pictured above) so I am ready to PAUSE and MEDITATE anytime and anywhere I wish to. And as I began my practice (a breath and body mindfulness practice), I noticed for the first time (ahh .. mindfulness) the huge amount of noise and busyness outside my office window, which I had left open for some fresh air.
So my meditation was punctuated by car horns, children squealing, a shop alarm going off, the train arriving and departing, a dog barking and I think I heard a bus.
The orchestra of everyday life
And what I noted during my meditation (trying not to think about this .. but just observing and letting go) .. was how these daily life noises could be accepted as part of my practice today. And the image that popped into my head was of a Zen keisaku stick (the 'encouragement' or 'awakening' stick) that I first met when I spent a full day (and first visit) to a zendo for Zen meditation practice.
The keisaku stick was present, but not used on this occasion, but I had later asked the monk about it's purpose, which is essentially to reinvigorate and awaken the meditator who may be tired from many sessions of zazen, or under stress, the "monkey mind" (overwhelmed with thoughts) and is used to impart a swift whack on each shoulder - TO WAKE YOU UP!
So in my meditation today .. the traffic and busy street noises became my 'encouragement' stick - a WHACK for the mind that brought me right back into the present moment and my breath.