I heard a talk by a yoga teacher. I was interested and listened closely but he was very soft-spoken. One thing I didn’t understand was something about your mind skittering around like monkeys.
I asked my son who takes yoga classes and has read extensively about meditation: “What’s that yoga saying about monkeys jumping around?”
“It’s called Monkey Mind,” he explained. “It’s when you lose concentration in your meditation because your mind is acting like a drunken monkey bitten by a scorpion. It’s in that book on yoga I gave you,” he added.
“What book?” I asked. “I don’t remember any yoga book. Maybe I gave it back to you.”
“No,” he said. “I gave it to you.”
“Did I read it?”
“Apparently not,” he said.
That’s not necessarily true. Even if I had just read it a month earlier, I might not remember unless it was truly memorable, like “Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates,” by Tom Robbins.
I especially don’t remember books that I haven’t talked to anyone about. If I had read a book my son had given me, we would have talked about it.
“It’s a red book,” he added helpfully. I started looking for a red book. First I looked on my bedside table where I keep a stack of books I’m reading just a chapter or two ever so often, like, “Meditations for Women Who Do To Much,” and “Oklahoma Gardening Guide,” which are not the type you sit down and read from cover to cover. I suspected a book on yoga might be in this category.
No red book there. In another stack was “Justice As Fairness,” “Essays by Christopher Hitchens,” and “Organizing Plain and Simple.”
“Oh, goody,” here it is!” I said, spying a red book in a third stack under the Kleenex box. But, under the layer of dust, it was, “How to Write Creative Non-Fiction.”
I thought awhile. Maybe it was with my collection of books on religion, my favorite discussion subject after politics and sex. It wasn’t.
Frustrated, I searched through all the books in the house for a red book on yoga with no success. Several weeks later, I was forced to clean off that bedside table because there was no room left for a glass of water. I was reading each title and picked up, “Wherever You Go There You Are.” When I read the subtitle, “Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life,” by someone named Jon Kabat-Zinn, it hit me. “This is the book I’ve been looking for,” even though the word “yoga,” was not on the cover and the book was brown and green, not red.
There were notes scribbled in the flyleaf with references to pages between 20 and 208 which meant I had read to page 208 at least. For page 20, I had scrawled the eternal question, “What is God?” I noted there was no answer. And for page 208, “Nothing is isolated. Each event connects with others.”
There wasn’t one word in my notes about monkeys. This is a book I will need to start over when I finish it because mindfulness meditation is going to take some work.
But, had it been a red book, I could have started on those drunken monkeys a lot sooner.
Mary McClure lives in Lawton.