You’ve probably noticed there’s chat going on in your forebrain with yourself. You’re constantly talking to yourself about how well or badly you’re doing – applauding or criticising yourself, doubting your own judgement, regretting things you’ve done or haven’t done, winding yourself up with bogus fears of things that mostly never happen, planning where no plan is possible, plotting when all there is to do is lie in wait.

And you’ve no doubt surmised that if you didn’t do that, or at least could find a way to turn the volume down and focus the camera on something more rewarding to watch, the quality of all aspects of your life would be improved considerably. You’d be free simply to enjoy yourself being here, no matter what the action going on or not going on around you, no matter how little or much stimulation you were getting, no matter how little or much attention you were getting from others.

Imagine if you were without the expectations expressed by the voices in the forebrain and thus be less prone to subsequent disappointment. Imagine if you could receive everything that happened or didn’t happen in the course of a day or night, was equally fine for you because just being alive to see it all, whatever it was or wasn’t, was enough for you, rather than getting caught up in self-pity.

Imagine you could see and appreciate fully the miracle of existence in each second and each fraction of a second and in every detail and micro-detail of your daily and nightly existence, rather than going blind on it and constantly having to seek substitute stimulation in the world of fantasy and illusion.

Imagine if you were without preferences for this over that and all phenomena were equally wondrous to you. Imagine if you had no attachment to the outcome of any situation but were relaxed and easy enough to roll with whatever arose. Imagine if you were to cease projecting into the future to guess what was going to happen and just be happy not to know, trusting that all you needed to know would be revealed in good time.

Imagine if you could remain perpetually centred in the present moment, with the totality of yourself brought to bear on whatever you were doing, even if you were doing absolutely nothing, without needing to change your space or make it better. Imagine if you were able to breathe freely the whole day and night long, instead of stopping your breath in anticipation of emotional pain or disappointment.

Because you can have that if that’s what you want. All you have to do is choose it and keep on choosing it, then stay mindful so you notice whenever the noise in the forebrain has got the better of you, because it’s insidious and you often don’t notice it’s happening until it’s too late – and as soon as you spot yourself going into self-pity mode, or feeling anxious or clinging with your mind to this preference over that, as soon as you spot you’ve fallen out of the groove of the Tao, simply take a deep breath, steady your body, lengthen your spine and say aloud or if not appropriate, under your breath, to yourself, ‘Stop’.

Then stay with the feeling of cessation for a moment and enjoy the stillness. And any time the mad monkey starts making a din again, simply gather yourself in this self-commanding manner and repeat the order, ‘Stop’. Simple as that.

You’re a Buddha. You just have to remember, that’s all. And that’s why I’m reminding you. I’m your spiritual geisha. We’ve done well.

May you have a day and night of unparalleled peace and quietude which leaves you feeling so at one with the universe, it’s all you can do to stop yourself walking up to the nearest galaxy and throwing your arms round it like a long-lost brother or sister and shouting, ‘hey, baby, that Barefoot is a total brick’.

With love, Steph the BD

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