Cut through the chatter

Most of the things you think about aren’t thoughts, they’re chatter. Anyone who’s ever tried meditation before knows about chatter. Chatter is that relentless stream of mental dialogue we think of as being what’s going on “inside” our head.

Here’s an example of what chatter looks like:

Did I have lunch yet? I’ll have to make a decision when I go downstairs about what to have. Yesterday I had eggs and avocado and pesto. That was pretty great. How have I never tried that before. That reminds me, I need to get more pesto. Oh, and milk too. I’m so bad at remembering things. I also wish I was better at writing blog posts. Sometimes it feels good when I write them, but other times it’s just frustrating. You know what else is frustrating? Email. And the new council rubbish bin schedule, because…

We spend our lives listening to this junk.

The buddhists call this our monkey mind for a reason—it’s not our real mind. Real thoughts are rare, and only start to come out of wherever it is they’re hiding when the chatter dies down enough. Until then, this unending river of confused, restless garbage flows forth, keeping us in a perpetual state of suspended satisfaction, blurry emotional vision, and pseudo-effectiveness.

The problem is that chatter doesn’t die down on its own. You have to cut through it. You have to sit with it and stay conscious of it. You have to watch it until your real mind wakes up to the realisation that it stands apart from this mental traffic jam.

What’s on the other side? I’ve only seen glimpses, but it’s nice. I’ll tell you more when I get there, but in the meantime, you should begin cutting through your chatter too.

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