Chat as Map of Monkey Mind

Since the pandemic started so many meetings, services, etc. are being shown or held on Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, etc. I totally appreciate the opportunity to participate safely in gatherings I love. “Chat” columns are often open to the side or just below these videos and I began to notice they offer an interesting visual of monkey mind.

Monkey mind, aka wild mind, refers to the way our thoughts tend to run wild, to chatter like monkeys. All day. Every day, masses of thoughts jumbling through our minds. I first noticed the chat phenomenon during an Ahava Center for Spiritual Living service. We had a special guest speaker, Reverend Sunshine Daye and her talk was SO good. A talk to fall into, to exercise every power of right listening on, to drink in every word. And through the whole thing, out of the corner of my eye, I could see chat messages flying by.

Once I’d noticed it there, I began seeing it all the time. During any Ahava service. During Deva Premal’s and Miten’s weekly Gayatri meditations. While Jack Kornfield gives a talk, etc. My guess would be that at in person services at any given moment many people’s minds would be composing grocery lists, choosing paint colors, remembering childhood ills, fretting over an unhappy conversation, etc. While everyone might be sitting quietly through the event, monkey mind would be busily in action around the room. But we manage to seem present because no one can see the thoughts chasing around in everyone’s minds.

With chat visually present on the screen, we can see how busily people’s minds are racing the whole time they’re supposedly chanting or participating in a meditation or listening to a deep spiritual talk. Granted, in these situations the “chatter” is generally more on topic, love emojis, repetitions of lines of the chant, comments on specifics of a talk, etc. But it still involves not really sitting with an empty mind and meditating or chanting or listening, etc.

No judgement, we all struggle to control those inner chattering monkeys, but really fascinating to watch it in action while attending church or meditation, etc. Has anyone else been noticing?

Covid Gratitude 4: Zoom, Skype and all

While I’ve used Zoom and Skype prior to Covid, the pandemic has opened up new horizons wherein I’m employing them much more than before.

Previously I mostly only set up Skype with friends if they wanted me to show them a yoga or triggers of release move.  Since the lockdowns, I’ve been regularly getting on Skype or Zoom with several friends whom I formerly just spoke with on the phone once a month or e-mailed and it’s been such a nice intimacy to see each other.

Most precious to me at this time: when my Dad fell and went to hospital in FL, I couldn’t go see him — not only fears about travel during pandemic but wouldn’t be allowed in the hospital. He quickly deteriorated and moved to hospice and again, wouldn’t be allowed to see him for 2 weeks had I flown down. So the last two days he was conscious they were able to set up Zoom for us on an IPad they’d just gotten and it was so great to be able to see and talk with him. Hard to say how huge my gratitude is for that.

As more and more places figure out how to do classes, meetings, etc. on line, I’m signing up for things and getting more involved than I’ve been in a while. I’m still a bit up and down with unwinding, lack of sleep, etc. and in the past that’s meant I either didn’t sign up for classes or often backed out of events I’d agreed to do. With the ability to hang out in my grubbies, showerless, at home, no driving, no parking, etc. I can get involved. And so many new opportunities are there with these technologies.

Every Saturday I’m joining Deva Primal and Miten’s weekly Gayatri/Meditation practice live on FB. Generally there are 2,000+ of us watching and I can really feel the huge energy we connect into. I’ve also gotten to hear some new Jai Uttal music and listen to a talk by Jack Kornfield.

I signed up to take a “Me and White Supremacy” class in which we’re going through all the exercises in the book.  It’s being offered for free through the Holmes Institute. People from all over the country are taking it. On my own I’ve been reading Rhonda Magee’s Inner Work of Racial Justice and frankly I prefer it and wish the class was going through it instead, but the chance to hear viewpoints from all over and to join a different breakout group every week to talk is SO valuable and amazing.

I’ve also been able to join the Poor People’s Campaign. I’ve been following them for 4 years now and each time some participating friends have given me info on a meeting I’ve realized I would have to drive after dark in one or both directions and I can no longer drive at night, so I’d never been able to participate.  Now I’ve participated in two virtual call-in/e-mail campaigns against McConnell on FB and joined a Zoom meeting with the KY chapter and am now on a committee on which I can do things to help from home.

The women’s group for 60+ I joined at the Spiritual Center I’ve been attending sporadically is meeting now on Zoom every month and it’s so great to be able to see everybody. The center has had streaming services all along, but it has been especially nice to tune in during this time of no in person services. I’m a night owl and not at all a morning person so I have to say it’s pretty great to be able to sit in my sweats sipping coffee every Sunday while enjoying the service.

I’m signed up for a one evening course on Krishnamurti and David Bohm…

You get the picture. Lots going on.  As a continuation on the progress I’ve been making the last couple of years on moving out into the world again after such a long time of cocooning and working on health, this is pretty spectacular. What a gift!!!