Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Guide those demons out

[image: Social Group III by Andrew Guenther, from Tricycle, Summer 2008.]

I just talked with my friend Nancy, and want to share something she mentioned. She was talking about the fabled affliction that drives so many people out of meditation practice, monkey mind. She said she has learned that when those unwanted thoughts disturb her peace, it's best to guide them out the door. (I can hear a song, to the tune of the very old folk song, Boil that cabbage down. "Guide those demons out . . . ")

"Not trying to throw them out, or say 'Get away,'" she explained. "It just seems best to sort of nod and say hello, and then gently guide them out. It seems to work better." Nancy is a lady almost a generation older than me, and has the manners of a slower, more thoughtful time. She is one to write thank-you notes, to call when you've been ill. She is also a longtime practitioner of tai chi. The Taoist emphasis on being in the flow, on listening to the universe, suits her temperament, I think. I can't imagine her being aggressive. She has political views, but you'd never know it; she doesn't argue politics. Just doesn't argue. Not even with her demons. I can imagine her saying to one, "I'm sure you have a lot to do. Don't let me detain you."

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