Because Zen makes sense

Walking the Mind


Strange header. I should have written ‘walking the dog’. But I haven’t got any dog for the moment being. So I stick to my meditation.

I often think of my mindfulness meditation as walking the dog, where I substitute the ‘dog’ with the ‘mind’. When I once used to walk the dog, the dog would drift away as soon as I was not aware. This is also the case when I meditate. If I am not aware, focused, my mind will drift away.

And when I recognize the dog not being by my side, I will call him back, or pull in the leash. That is exactly what my mindfulness training is about. When I recognize that my mind is drifting away, I bring it back. Sometimes the only awareness is enough, sometimes when I am stressed for some reason, I more forcefully pull it back.

And I try to be aware so my mind won’t drift away again, which it ultimately does. Then I have to repeat the procedure, focus back, which means bringing the mind back.

Tich Nath Hahn describes mindfulness as bringing the mind-body back home to the physical body, so they can unite and become one again. I doubt he thinks of walking the dog. But to me training the mind, in a childish way, make me think of training a dog, to the best for both the dog and the owner.

Illustration: dogclipart.com


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4 thoughts on “Walking the Mind

  1. Nice comparison: mind=dog. As I have got a dog, I can fully go along with you. Thanks for this “picture”.

  2. Pingback: Psychology, spirituality and mental health

  3. Taming horses, domesticating cats… the same process. From the rawness of nature to a refined set of behaviours … does this actually bring freedom… I hope so!

    • Freedom is a diffficult concept. If you take a look at my former post, I suggest that zen is a mixture of buddhism and Tao (dao): The latter emphazising the natural flow without those restrictions caused by normes and societies, the buddhism emphazising the dicipline of the mind, and even the moral aspects towards others. Is this a possible combination, is dicipline a fundamental part of actual freedom?
      Thanks for a very interesting comment. I think of this all the time.

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