Meditations on clearing one’s mind of clutter

It’s a Zen thing.
Is there anything harder than trying to think about
absolutely nothing?
My dog sits better than me.
Some of the things I think about while waiting
for a bolt of enlightenment to strike my monkey mind:
Polar bears. Did I leave the stove on? My nose itches.

Om. Om. OOOOmmmmmmm
The pitcher’s mound is sixty feet and six inches
from home plate.
OOOmm. Ahem. … did I eat anything yet today? Om…
Silence. Silence. There is a triumphant moment of blessed silence in my brain.
Yes! Eureka! I’m not thinking about anything.
But … isn’t thinking about the fact that I’m
finally not thinking about anything …
thinking about something?
Sigh. Om.
Less is more. Less is more. Let go. Let it all go. Desire is the root of all suffering.
Let go of attachments and you let go of suffering
Yeah baby!
Let go of these nagging thoughts in the brain.
Sit. Sit. Just sit. Sit. Stay.

Like I said, my dog is better at this than I am.

My legs ache. My left foot is cramping up.
Now all I’m thinking about is the pain in my foot
and the numbness in my butt.
I want a cigarette … and I don’t even smoke.
If I can just clear my mind and meditate on nothing but nothingness …
Om. Om. Om McDonald had a farm…
Om. Om. Polar bears again. Damn.
I am excruciatingly aware of a plane buzzing around overhead.
And somewhere within a 10-block radius someone’s wrist watch is beeping.
On the hour. On the hour … that means I’ve been sitting zazen for all of, oh,
10 bloody minutes … so why does it feel like 10 bloody hours?

My butt hurts. It’s gone from Om to Numb in less than a quarter of a detached hour.
But time is irrelevant. Does anybody really know what time it is?

And would that be the time that’s spiralling forward,
or the time that’s speeding off in the rearview mirror?
And how come we can remember the past but not the future?
Because … if time is ticking off in more than one direction,
as Einstein may have suggested
in a faster-than-a-speeding-bullet moment of temporal detachment …
shouldn’t we be able to remember the future?


Time out. Time flies. Time to kill. Time to get a haircut.
Time to think … No! No thinking! Time to clear my head. Time to stop
and smell the roses. A rose is a rose is a rose …
and what is the smell of no roses among no noses?
Is it anything like the sound of one hand clapping?
And how does that compare to the sound of my big butt napping?
And somewhere I can distinctly hear a dog yapping …

But that is not my dog; my dharma dog is off in a corner, sitting.
Sitting pretty. Sitting, and no doubt with absolutely nothing
on her mind but a big batch of doggie detachment.
She appears to have detached from all but her own breathing.
While I, on the other hand, I have managed to detach from nothing
except all feeling in my feet and butt.
Detach? I hopelessly try. I spy, I spy with my little Zen eye … something that is … detached. God, I so want to be detached.

They say if you see the Buddha in the street, kill him.
I have come nowhere close to seeing the Buddha,
but I am now seeing polar bears again and om, um,
… perhaps I should settle for semi-detached?
I can’t go three seconds without thinking dumb, unZenlike thoughts.
Clarity may be the goal, but sifting through neurotrash is the reality.

Breathe. Breathe. Stay in the moment. Stay in the moment.
Stay. Detach. Breathe. Stay. Detach. Breathe.
But … if I stay in the moment … doesn’t that mean I end up thinking about …
The Moment … instead of about … The Nothing?

And detachment … do I really want to detach?
From the love? From the links to the heart?
Can my impossibly human, earthbound heart possibly handle that?

Detach from longing? Detach from the world? From pleasure? From beauty?
From you and your impossibly sexy shoulders?
From my desire to jump and hump your bones
and all their unenlightened corporeal attachments?

Don’t think. Just don’t think. And if you must think, for Christ’s,
er, Buddha’s sake, don’t think about sex!
Let go of Thought. Let go of desire… Let go of desire and you let go of suffering.
What could be simpler? Less is more. Turn off the monkey mind. Sit. Stay. Blank.

Wonderful. I’ve been cross-legged for so long my entire body has gone to sleep
except for the part that was supposed to go to sleep: My conscious mind.
And I realize that all I really want to do now is detach
from this blankety-blank detachment.

Om Sweet om
Om is where the heart is
Om … um … is anyone else thinking about polar bears?

0 Replies to “Meditations on clearing one’s mind of clutter”

  1. well, i wasn’t but i am now. Thanks!
    Polar bears…sheesh!

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