What are we here for? To love, and to help others love.
Self-care for clergy

In which I compare my monkey mind to Curious George.


Monkey mind looks like
Curious George: hopping
and screeching, animated
with exaggerated expression.

It swings from idea
to idea: Doctor Who, the Arctic,
the Iraqi psalm melody
from last night's dream.

Listen to the birdsong!
How do they do that?
Is it time yet?
What am I forgetting?

Maybe it's not a monkey
but a pinball machine,
flashing with each bounce
and ricochet. And I say

thank you monkey mind.
Thank you pinball machine.
Thank you, synapses firing
to wake me to this day.

Something stills, slightly:
I'm a pond still peppered
with raindrops, but now
I remember and greet

flashes of silvered gratitude
like ponderous ancient koi
doing their slow pirouettes
in my mind's cold depths.



"Monkey mind" is a common metaphor for the mind's relentless chatter. It derives from the Buddhist idea of the mind monkey. And Curious George is a character in a popular series of kids' books, now also in a PBS cartoon. When I picture my own monkey mind, he's the image that comes immediately to the forefront of my consciousness.

This morning during meditation at my shul I did a variation on this four worlds gratitude practice, and I invited us to thank God for our monkey minds and to thank our monkey minds for doing what they do. (I heard one of my fellow meditators chuckling at that notion.) It is funny to thank God for monkey mind! But when I stopped resisting my mind's spinning and instead said thank you for it and to it, I felt different.

Shabbat shalom to all who celebrate.