Meditation and the Puppy mind


puppy pic

When we first begin our meditation practice, we start to see that our minds are like untrained puppies – sniffing here, sniffing there and generally going all over the map and beyond. We are constantly thinking and have very little control of what we are thinking about. We often dwell on things we would rather not – digging up past grievances, past hurts, and past emotional upsets. We re-live these events in our thoughts and in the process keep these hurts alive or we spend time agonizing over possible future problems that most times will never come to pass.

How can we train our minds to go where we would like them to go?
How can we say “No” to thoughts we would rather not think?
How can we appreciate the present moment?
Well, how do you train a puppy?

The best-trained puppies are handled with love, compassion and patience. You start training a puppy by giving it a very specific job to do – like “Sit”. When a puppy moves out of “Sit”, you don’t get angry at it – you gently bring it back to “Sit”. Learning to meditate is very much the same process. We also have to give our minds a job to do – to focus on only one thing and attempt to keep it there.

When our attempts to quiet the mind fail or are spotty at best,
we might want to beat ourselves up.
We need to learn how to be kind to our puppy minds
not to get frustrated or angry
just to gently bring the mind back to “Sit”.

One technique we like to keep the mind “sitting” is Chakra meditation. In many different practices there is an idea of centers of energy in the body. In Martial arts, the area about an inch below the navel is the center of power or the Power Chakra . The center of the chest is a point most people are sensitive to and is called the Heart Chakra.  The middle of your forehead, about an inch above your eyebrows is called the Third eye.

The focus is one of feeling, not thinking. We sit in meditation and attempt to keep all our attention on a Chakra usually the Navel, the Heart or the Third eye. Each time our mind wanders away from that focus, we gently bring it back to feeling the Chakra. Every time we notice we are thinking, we lay those thoughts aside and return to feeling the Chakra.
By keeping our focus steady:
we reside in the present moment.
We are not thinking about the past or the future.
We are right here, right now.
What this does for us is amazing:
It frees us from all the thoughts and emotions that tie us
to events outside of the present moment.
And in the present moment, everything is perfect. The space we inhabit when this happens has a far-reaching effect.
We are afforded a glimpse into our true nature, unhindered by our “stuff” and we get a sense of who we really are:

Spirits having a human experience

We also get to see that it is our thoughts that create our world when our thoughts shift, so does our world.
So just as that excited puppy develops into a calm and happy companion with the right training, so too will our minds get calm, quiet and happy by developing a meditation practice.
Oh yeah — we should all give ourselves lots of treats, too.

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