On the Polyphony of Minds


(MONKEY Mind) It's almost eerie how this cartoon just GETS what my practice is like. (Image sourced from georgecoghill.wordpress.com.)

(MONKEY Mind) It’s almost eerie how this cartoon just GETS what my practice is like. (Image sourced from georgecoghill.wordpress.com.)

The two interweaving melodies of my day:

  1. Frank excitement at the possibilities offered by the month ahead: new classes, new teachers, new books, new techniques.
  2. Rising dread at the tasks to be completed by the end of the current month: the counting, the filing, the reconciling, the revising, the updating and the announcing.

In this polyphony, I can’t tell which line is the cantus firmus and which line is the counter melody.

(COUNTER Point) Which one is which?

(COUNTER Point) Which one is which?

Each line is loud; every note is shrill. And in the background: the orchestra is humming, sawing, plinking, hammering, blowing and tooting. A conductor is rumored to exist, but nothing—save a baton—has ever been found. What is the purpose of meditation? To tune the orchestra? To locate the conductor? To realize that the absent conductor is what’s truly real and the ever-present orchestra is, in fact, delusion? To perceive harmony in the cacophony? To realize the cacophony as the harmony? Or, to simply stop hitting ourselves with the baton?

Such is the music to which the monkey mind dances.

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