Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys!

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Photo by Aryan Singh on UnsplashIn this world, people tend to get caught up in the drama, the Maya (illusion) of life. Different people in different places, in different cultures, and in different stages of their life, get caught in the current of this world. This identity with his or her world constantly recreates itself into the cycle of birth and death. Some may call it Karma.

When I refer to illusion, I’m not talking about simply a magic show, but for each individual, the reality of life is relatively real. Therefore it is quite real to them depending on how far they take it. And simply put, they will take it far into their final minutes of living unless they step out of it.

One of my clients, while discussing another person’s drama, took a deep breath …and said, “Not my circus, not my monkeys!” Perfect! I thought to myself. As if we don’t already have enough stuff going on in our life, to take on someone else’s drama or problems….creates only additional stress and anxiety.

While growing up in India as a multicultural kid, and during visits over the years, I’ve observed monkeys. Some will sit calmly doing their own thing, while others go crazy – running around, jumping in trees, grabbing stuff, and so on. Humans tend to do a lot of jumping around even when not even needed. They not only make trouble for themselves unnecessarily but for others around them as well.

In an earlier post, Meditation for Life Balance, I talked about meditation, which is a good thing to practice even in relatively short sessions, wherever you may be. You can also take walks, spend time in nature, journal, sit quietly drinking your coffee or tea quietly without looking at your phone. Make some food for yourself and/or others in a very compassionate and mindful way. This is self-nurturing, like monkeys grooming each other thoughtfully and with care.

Sattvic vs. Rajasic

Like monkeys, your actions and behaviors vary. Sometimes you can be like the quiet and still (sattvic) monkey, and other times you may choose to be like an active (rajasic) monkey, jumping from tree to tree, swinging to your heart’s content. The key to harmony and balance with whatever action or behavior you choose is Self Awareness. When you are Self Aware, you make choices rather than things or Maya, over-taking and controlling you. When you are Self Aware, you have a certain amount of control, power and most importantly, energy which is not disbursed and wasted. Conserving energy (contentment) is key to allowing your own body and mind to settle itself rather than taking the waste products with you throughout your day and into your sleep. Settle your body and settle your mind. Let the monkeys rest sometimes and other times play. Then they won’t bother you as much.

As in the Zen proverb:

When you eat…eat
When you sleep sleep
But above all…

Do you need help managing stress in your life? If you, or someone close to you, are in need of counseling and are in the Jacksonville, Florida area, call me at (904) 687-3715 for a consultation or email me here.

~ John Seniff, LMHC, Reverend PureSound

Meditation for Life Balance

Meditation for Life Balance

View of Cerro Pedernal, New Mexico

View of Cerro Pedernal, New Mexico

My own experience with meditation

My venture into meditation began when I was 19 and continues to this day (I consider myself ageless at this point). I have practiced meditation intensely in Zen retreats lasting anywhere from three days to a week, to 10-minute sessions in the morning or evening or both. Meditation gives me a sense of stability and continuity and creates space for observation. The observation of my thoughts and my feelings without judgment – without labeling them good or bad – has been hugely important to my own growth. 

How meditation can help you

Some people see meditation as a calming practice and a good way to release stress, which it definitely can be. But the practice of meditation was not meant solely for that. It is a practice to quiet internal processes and noise, and for self-observation and awareness. Quiet and stillness over a period of time have the effect of realigning your brain and nervous system to create a sense of balance and wholeness.

This is how I recommend you meditate:

  • Sit on a firm cushion on the floor
  • Keep your back erect, but not stiff
  • Close your eyes or keep them slightly open without staring at anything in particular
  • Breathe from your belly/abdomen
  • Observe your breath. Let thoughts and feelings come and go.

Breathing is important. Posture in Life – kindness, and softness of Heart – is also very important. Despite what you may go through and the struggles involved, always come back to the place of kindness, gentleness and softness towards life itself. Do this in spite of the cruelty and stupidity that may surround you. Meditate on this. Contemplate on this. Let love itself flow from your true nature. If anything and nothing else… make this your Religion…. your Truth.

When seeing a mirage, it looks like a flood and one asks about how to get across the water. However, when the truth is known, there is no worry.” 

~ Dasbodh

Need help?

I help my clients and students learn the practice of meditation. Do you need help managing stress in your life? Would you like to learn the process of meditation for life balance and increased awareness? If you, or someone close to you, are in need of counseling and are in the Jacksonville, Florida area, call me at (904) 687-3715 for a consultation or email me here.

~ John Seniff, LMHC, Reverend PureSound