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Killing Squirrels

A few years ago a fabulous woman came to my meditation class. When I asked everyone if they had any questions about meditation, she said with much seriousness,

“I feel like I have about twenty squirrels running around in my head all the time...I need you to help me kill the squirrels.”

This was a fabulous way start to the discussion, because every one of us has thoughts flying around our minds like wild raucous squirrels. I asked her to consider that rather than killing the squirrels, we might try giving them a place to land and relax.

Life is challenging, and adding a nonstop narrator like the mind to the mix takes it to the next level, leading to our stress, overwhelm, and frustration. We can change this trajectory though...the practice of meditation can help us to calm our inner environment, which leads us to calmer and happier versions of ourselves.

So we settle in and settle down, sit comfortably or walk slowly, turn our mind’s attention to the way it feels to breathe and the sound of that breath. We let nothing else matter for the duration of our practice, and three minutes is a wonderful place to start. Here we find that the squirrels were so busy, because they didn’t know that there was the possibility of a quiet and spacious place to slow down, curl up, and rest.

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