Squirrels do not walk mindfully on this earth.
Shall I pause and let you reflect?
If you’re Tara Brach, who has been teaching Buddhist meditation for 35 years, this statement is just a tiny part of a discussion on mindfulness and spiritual awakening.
If you’re me, and you’re attempting to listen to a podcast while stretching out at the gym, the thing about the squirrels is all you can remember.
We used to live in a neighborhood that had literally millions of squirrels. They were everywhere, in constant, frenetic motion. Occasionally you might see one sitting still for more than a second or two, but it was rare. Sitting still for longer than that usually suggested mortal injury. So I get why squirrels and mindfulness are a laughable combination.
I’ve read a good bit about mindfulness, but haven’t been terribly successful in implementing it. It struck me today that the image of squirrels’ frenetic activity is a perfect example for me of anti-mindfulness, whatever that might be called.
I want to quiet the squirrels that are so often running around in my brain. My new goal is to be an Anti-Squirrel. I don’t know quite how I’m going to get there, but I like that I have a visual reminder. As I watch the squirrels in the backyard, hopefully I will remember to slow down and quiet my mind. And maybe that’s really what Tara Brach was trying to achieve?