If you've ever lived near a school you will have noticed: 2 minutes after the play break bell rings, the doors open and a troop of yelling kids pours onto the playground. For the first 5 minutes of break the temporarily freed little monkeys scream out their frustration at being cooped up. They run and yell and let it all out and then they quieten and settle to play. The monkeys are gone and they're children again and they play. Meditating is very much like those first minutes after the playbreak bell goes...

Children learn and deepen their skills
In their play on the playground they develop socially and physically. It is in their play that they learn to interact with their peers. They learn physical skills playing with a ball or marbles or a stick or racing one another. They hone their skills at navigating the shoals of social interaction. And when the bell rings they troop back into the classroom, ready to sit down and absorb learning.

Meditation is very much like that moment that the school doors open:
You prepare your space, light a candle, get the music or bell or app going, you sit down, arrange yourself, close your eyes, the start bell rings and your monkey mind bursts loose. What a noise! the chaos! The sheer idiocy of the hundreds of thoughts that dart through your mind! Grimly you shoot every thought down, focus fanatically on the IMPORTANT stuff. And when it takes 'too many' yanks back to your breath you feel that you're a failure. "I can't focus, my mind is too busy, how am I ever going to meditate and improve if this happens all the time?"


Let the monkey mind loose
Give your mind a break. Meditation for most of us is a moment out of our lives that is so different to what we are doing all the time that it is a physical closing off from that life. How many of us meditate as we walk to work? Do you sit behind your desk, close your eyes and "Ommmmm"? Ummmm, no. At least I don't. I'm one of those - I need a mat and a bench and a matching candle and a good music player and the bells and whistles-type. Merchandizing loves me. So there I sit on my Chakra mat with a custom made meditation stool and the right colour candle, clutching the relevant crystal in my left hand while the right hand struggles with the relevant mudra. The meditation app tinkles and the monkey mind scatters.  Damn! Focus! Breath! Concentrate! 15 minutes later I have permanent frown lines, I'm practically hyperventilating and wtf am I doing this for? I'm a loser Guru...

And Meditate:

Then I one day I let my mind go. It scurried around for a while and I just sat there, breathing and letting it all hang out. And slowly my mind slowed. It settled. I thought of a good subject for a blog, played with it for a while. Then my breath caught my interest and suddenly I was just breathing. In and out. Sometimes a thought would come through and I'd think it and then let it go. I was meditating. And how. I was learning about me and my place in the universe.  The monkey mind became the meditating mind.
Try it. Give yoursef 5 minutes extra for the monkey mind. Let it stretch and yell and run and scream. Then let it settle, let it learn, let it deepen its skills, let it be.

                                  Namasté my dears.