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?”
I’ve written about sleep for my stress reduction column and I’m no stranger to difficulty sleeping. Mindfulness offers us a way to work with sleeplessness. As we lie in bed trying to fall asleep or back asleep we can do a body scan practice. Instead of tossing and turning pay attention to the sensations that are present in the body. Move to wherever the energy is strongest or move systematically from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Either one of two things will happen: 1) you will fall asleep, or 2) you will spend time meditating and enjoy the benefit of that. While not sleep, time spent in meditation can be exchanged for minutes of sleep, providing restfulness and clarity. Give it a try the next time you are having difficulty. If you are unfamiliar with the Body Scan meditation, you can listen to it and download it for free from the Exquisite Mind website.
Waves, inexorable, crashing surf.
The many threads of a tapestry, unraveled
unwoven, all command attention at once
in the roar of a crashing wave, and
sometimes one by one
necks crane into the future
Turning away into the seething foam
Feeling the weight of the tidal pull,
tucking the threads back into the body
until sleep comes.
Allowing gravity to do what it does,
bringing us closer to ground,
to earth, to home.
And this night,
the restless sea cannot wait until the light of day,
marching in the darkness
pushing from dreams of airplanes and cars
The imagined pleasure of coffee
in the cool darkness
is enough to get the body out of its
restless turnings and into this day of
doing, trying to weave these threads into
something coherent, even artful, or