Like most people, I sometimes have difficulty staying in the present moment. To-do lists, repair bills, utility bills, work, and family concerns all have their way of distracting me from whatever it is I’m doing and whoever I happen to be with at the moment. My mind fills with a kind of ceaseless chatter of tasks, cares, fantasies, and worries. Buddhists call this Monkey Mind, and from my perspective it’s a spot on description. It certainly sounds as if there is sometimes a jungle full of monkeys in my brain all chattering away at once. At times it can be difficult to differentiate one thought from another; they all just run into and, more often, run over each other.
Since I began a short, daily pre-work meditation practice, I’ve noticed that it’s easier to stay present; not easy, but definitely easier. There are too many distractions in modern life for it to be easy for me… yet. I say yet, because I have to be hopeful that with time it will get easier for me to ignore or tune out a larger number of distractions than I do now. I was recently contemplating just how I might go about increasing my present-ness without adding too much to my already busy schedule. I mean, I still want to have some play time each day; all work and no play makes a pretty grumpy me. So, I could add another period of meditation at the end of my work day. Yep, I could. And I have a thousand excuses, I mean reasons, why it wouldn’t work… the cats won’t leave me alone, I’ll feel guilty taking even more time away from the already limited time I have with my husband, it’ll feel like a chore if I have to do it every day… So I did what any self-respecting truth-dodger would do: I distracted myself. This time Facebook was my distraction of choice. Well, right smack in the middle of my distraction was my answer, in the form of a friend’s status: “Just for today, I will not be angry.” It was one of the 5 Reiki Ideals, but posted by a friend who is NOT trained in Reiki. Just For Today. THAT was my answer. When I took my first Reiki class, I was taught that “Just for Today” didn’t have to be limited to the Ideals. Instead, we could apply it to anything we needed help with. We could even modify it further for really difficult things to “just for this morning…,” or even “just for this moment…” if things were really tough. I used this phrase a lot after that first class. I’m not really sure why I ever stopped. To be honest, I don’t think I really stopped using the concept, just the phrase. But now I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to dust off those wise and useful words, Just For Today. Just for today, I will meditate after work.