Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Petting Zoo of the Brain

The book "Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants", written by Arnie Kozak is a great book with 108 metaphors for mindfulness.  My favorite part is where he explains our thoughts and its patterns in terms of animals and their behaviour.  Welcome to the Petting Zoo of the Brain!!
1. Doggy Mind: Runs after every sensation, idea, desire and aversion. Goes with every thought. Very easily distracted. You’re working and at the thought of a donut you’re in your car to Krispy Kremes. That kind of thing.
2. Monkey Mind: Jumping from thought to thought in the Forest of Thinking. From your grocery list to next weekend to previous weekend to that party last year where you stole a hat from the abandoned wardrobe. This often happens when we’re really not paying attention to what’s in front of us.
Note of importance: Mindfulness is not that you can stop thinking all together, but that you can peacefully observe Fido and Chimp do their thing without judgment or attachment. You don’t have to keep up with them or indulge on their every whim; that’s what mindfulness is about. Enter the Mindfulness Animals.
3.  Lion Mind: This is when you can be peaceful, disengaged and maybe even somewhat unimpressed by your own thoughts — especially when Fido & Chimp are running around. Like the big, royal proud cat. When you’re in Lion Mind State, you often get very good insights. Important to know is that Lion Mind can be a result  of mindfulness, it’s not a goal.
4. Spider Mind: “[...] embodies the quality of engaged attention” but it is not caught up in it. Monkey business or dog chasing isn’t what it does. It’s a high quality thinking that allows you to be interested and energetic as well as objective and relaxed, making great connections and being creative. Again, consequence of mindfulness, not a goal.
I like the animal-metaphors, don’t you? Makes it easy to imagine and figure out. Mindfulness is great for your head and the more you can do it, the less the monkey and the dog will bother you and the more you’ll benefit from lion and spider. Never thought I’d say I’d like a spider anywhere near my head, but apparently I do.

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