Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Metaphor Monday :: The Buzzing Fly


Metaphor 66 in Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants: 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness is, “The Buzzing Fly.” The fly is a metaphor for all things bothersome, especially thoughts that keep buzzing around seeking attention; moving out of what appears to be kinetic randomness. How can we deal with the fly?

One option is to continue sitting and being annoyed, or tocontinue whooshing the fly away. Another is to expand the concept of your selfin that moment to include your experience of the fly. After all, the reason thefly is annoying is because you’ve got some embedded rule or belief that says,”This fly should not be present; it is disturbing my meditation. My meditationshould feel differently than it does now. It should be flyless.” If that beliefcan be revised to include the fly, there is no longer opposition and no longera problem. The revision eliminates the resistance.


“The Fly” is a wonderful animation by Hanjin Song that likewise turns to the fly as metaphor. It’s also a metaphor for resistance — what we resists, persists — and multiplies! It’s metaphor for reactivity and invites us to consider the question: “How do I want to spend my time and energy?”

The video also presents the dharma. There is no distinction between the cherry blossom and the fly and when our minds can appreciate this, we experience nirvana (OK, that part is a little schmaltzy, but, hey, how do you portray that which is beyond all concepts?).
Our goal in meditation is not to get rid of the flies. Our goal is to accept them as part of the landscape of now. When we can do this, we experience a little taste of nirvana. 
  • DS

    Wow. That happened to me the other day while I was meditating. Amazing truth in this video. Thanks for posting!

  • Rachel Grossman

    This blog really hit the spot with the fly that I battle with every day.

  • Colleen

    What a wonderful demonstration of how much energy we sometimes spend trying to make something go away. When the first fly appeared in the video, I thought of how colorful and beautiful the fly is:>)
    Stress or annoyance is resistance to what is. Why spend our energy in that way? Schmaltzy it may be, but who cares? If schmaltz is what we need to be content…why not?:>)It may only be “beyond all concepts” THAT WE KNOW AT THIS TIME. Let’s expand on what we think we know:>)

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