When Brains Give You Lemons

My daughter’s fifth grade teacher taught her class how to meditate and I was delighted to hear it. What a useful life skill (and an ingenious way of getting two dozen rambunctious preteens to calm the hell down). I told my daughter I wished I’d been taught that young, and I asked if she was able to quiet her mind. She said, “Yup. Easy.”

Easy? Hmm. I explained that I’ve never found it all that easy. That my mind likes to chatter, incessantly. I told her it went a little something like this, after about 30 seconds of silence:

Mind: Oh hey, are we meditating?
Me: Yes. And ssshhh.
(10 seconds later)
Mind: You don’t have to shush me, you know. It was just a question.
(5 seconds later)
Mind: I mean, I just think that’s really rude.The shushing.
Me: Please be quiet.
Mind: Oh sure, sure. Serious stuff at hand. Got it. Don’t mind me. I’ll be over here. Properly shushing.
(10 seconds later)
Mind: Just breathing and shushing and relaxing. That’s us.
(5 seconds later)
Mind: Quiet time. Super quiety-quite time.
(2 seconds later)
Mind: Focusing on your breathing, that’s good. In and out. Out with the old, in with the new. Some fascinating involuntary medulla oblongata shit right there.
Me: Ssshhh!
(15 seconds later)
Mind: You know what’s nice?
(5 seconds later)
Mind: Lemons.
(2 seconds later)
Mind: Really though, just everything about them is tasty and refreshing. I can’t think of a single terrible lemony thing. Grandma liked lemons. We should make lemon tea. And lemon bars. Do we have enough sugar? We need to buy more measuring spoons. Where do they all go? Who steals measuring spoons? God I hate doing dishes…..”
(25 seconds later)
Mind: You hear that?
(10 Seconds later)
Mind: Is that the refrigerator kicking on? Is it always that loud?
(5 seconds later)
Mind: I’m not trying to bother you, I’m just saying that the refrigerator sounds like a goddamn 747 roaring in your kitchen right now. But I’m sure that’s normal.
Me: Please, oh please, oh please just SHUT UP.
Mind: Oh right. Calming the mind. Confering with “the soul.” My bad.
(5 seconds later)
Mind: Just curious, does “the soul” know you have a dentist appointment on Thursday? Does “the soul” know where your car keys are?
Me: YOU don’t know where my car keys are!
Mind: And that, my friend, is true. Are we done yet?
Me: *sigh* I think so.
Mind: Good. Let’s make lemon bars!



4 thoughts on “When Brains Give You Lemons

  1. Cynthia & Bob

    I sometimes think quieting the mind as a goal of meditation is over-rated and prevents lots of people from having an enjoyable meditation experience. When my mind doesn’t seem interested in being quiet I like to practice looking for ways to feel appreciation for whatever my mind is coming up with – like lemon bars. An increased feeling of appreciation, particularly if it last a while, seems to me like a good enough reason to set aside some time, and I don’t have a problem thinking of this as meditation. -Bob

  2. Michelle Smith

    HA I love this. That is exactly how my sad attempts at meditation have gone. It is even sneaking into my attempts at running… ” ooo is that a bird? I better walk until I have figured out exactly what kind of bird that was….”
    Miss you!!!!


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