Rover and his Monkey Mind Tail

Rover was a dog but not just any old dog, Rover had the ability to talk and perhaps more importantly he had the ability to think. His ability to think meant he was in firm control of his feelings and how he perceived reality. He had only one problem, that damn annoying tail.

A few years ago Rover went on a trip to Japan and he was amazed at how ‘different’ it was from his home town in the Scottish highlands. He loved the contrast between the bright lights of Tokyo and the Zen nature of the countryside and from that point onwards he fell in love with fashion.

As it turned out Rover was quite fashion minded. He was very creative and he could see potential that was seemingly invisible to everyone else. Everyone loved his creations and they brought immense joy into the lives of many people. Rover loved what he diddog but he had one simple reoccurring problem. He could never catch that annoyingly elusive tail. This was taking up a large portion of his day and it was beginning to affect his work and relationships. Unfortunately, Rover remained blissfully unaware that the tail was a natural extension of himself and with this misunderstanding he would forever be chasing shadows.

One day Rover had had enough and as anyone would do, he travelled to India to visit a sage Shaman. Rover decided that it was worth showing some humility in order to help himself and in turn help others with his gifts in the field of fashion. On meeting the Shaman he got straight to the point and asked him for his help on how to catch this tail. The Shaman felt quite amused by this question but he didn’t display this feeling of amusement. He said to Rover that this ‘complex’ problem would require a relaxed and clear mind. Therefore he invited him to come relax with him by the riverside for the night. Rover wasn’t expecting this response but thought to himself that as he had paid all this money to be here he may as well try and enjoy himself and ‘kill two birds with one stone’.

The following morning Rover did indeed feel more relaxed but he still wanted an answer, or  a strategy or anything that would allow him to solve this problem and get back to his life. Just thinking about this made him feel a little more tense, but that didn’t matter because it felt like he was doing something to solve the problem. Once again on meeting the Shaman he asked for a solution to his problem. The Shaman could feel the tension that had started to build up again, and he offered him a green tea while they chatted.

Shaman: ‘Why is it important for you to catch this tail you speak of?’

Rover: ‘Because I will no longer have to think about it and be able to get on with my life again.’

Shaman: ‘I understand, that sounds highy logical. So what is this tail doing to you that disturbs you so much?’

Rover: ‘Well it is getting in my way. Every now and again I see it out of the corner of my eye and it drives me mad. I just don’t want to see it, I want to see the world without having this white and black thing in my peripheral vision.’

Shaman: ‘That does sound rather frustrating. You said it happens every now and again which means there are times when you don’t see it. Can you tell me what is happening when you don’t notice it?’

Rover: ‘Hmm, I never really concentrated on that before but now that you say it, I generally don’t notice the tail when I am working on a new piece of clothing. When an idea comes to mind and I get straight to action on it.’

Shaman: ‘Very good, and can you tell me where the tail disappears to in those moments?’

Rover: ‘That is a good question. I had presumed that it disappeared, but come to think of it I think it is still present. I just don’t seem to concentrate on it, so I don’t see it.

Shaman: ‘Very good, I believe that is a reasonable assertion. I believe this because that tail follows you everywhere, because you own it. You always have the power to choose whether to focus on it or not’

Rover: ‘Awwh. I cannot believe I didn’t see this before. I had such a blinkered focus that I no longer could see the trees from the forest. I must admit that this is the most stupid I have ever felt. However, I feel such as sense of relief and lightness right now that I am more than happy to sacrifice my ego’.

Rover returned back to Scotland shortly after this and made some of his most prolific pieces. While his new understanding wasn’t a cure to all his problems, now when he saw his tail in his peripheral vision he chuckled to himself and continued on with what he was doing.

 

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The Carpenter and his New Suite of Furniture

There once lived a carpenter in a wooden house. He had built the house along with the furniture within it. A couple years had elapsed and the carpenter noticed one day that the furniture could talk. The carpenter was delighted as now he had company to share his happiness with.

Naturally the novelty wore off as the years rolled by but the carpenter realised that his happiness levels had somehow decreased. He used to think he created the house he lived in and now he was somehow unsure of just about everything. As he travelled back in time in his head, he saw that the new thread started when he befriended the furniture. He wondered to himself whether this was a case of causation or correlation? This question was etched in his mind for a couple of days, until he finally decided he would put an end to this madness. The carpenter decided to run a little experiment.carpenter

He spent some time writing out his core beliefs and values and what he did next was genius in its simplicity. He started to listen. Sure enough he began to hear regurgitations of his new thought patterns, patterns that didn’t sit too well with him. While the carpenter knew the furniture were crafted of dead wood, somehow repetition had overpowered his understanding.  The carpenter felt he knew what the problem was but he hadn’t the understanding to develop the required solution. He innately knew what was required was an act of creation and not reaction. The fact that these words are two choices made using the same letters was not lost on him. The carpenter then looked at what was the key difference in his actions before the furniture started to speak. After a short while pondering he realised that he had all but stopped pursuing his artistry as a carpenter. So in the midst of the unknown he decided to rekindle this passion.

The carpenter had a kind heart and believed in second chances so he ran his idea past the furniture. The furniture had just about enough intelligence to see their complete dependence on keeping the carpenter small, so they dissuaded him to the point of belittlement. The carpenter was hurt but by this stage the embers had been lit and there was no putting them out.

The carpenter had not yet acquired the sufficient knowledge to deal with the uncomfortable feelings when he was around the furniture, so when the lights went out the carpenter’s day began. The carpenter spent the next few years mastering his craft through his project of making a new suite of furniture. While he knew that perfection was an illusion, one of his core beliefs was;

progress = happiness

and when he focused on a task he wasn’t one to make the same mistake twice. The carpenter spent his days subtly trying to guide the old furniture to a better attitude but they were becoming increasingly unaware of the harm they were now doing to themselves. Then one day the hourglass of patience had spent its last grain of sand. It was time for the carpenter to sharpen his axe.

The carpenter now decided to test his courage and he began to sharpen his axe in broad daylight. He felt more anxiety thinking about doing this than actually doing this, because to his surprise the furniture remained ‘blissfully’ unaware of his new actions. They were too preoccupied with their own self perpetuating dramas by this stage.

The late nights spent doing what he loved had softened the carpenter’s heart but at the same time it had given him a mental toughness that previously did not exist. When time came once again to nudge the carpenter forward he took the axe to the furniture and locked the front door firmly shut.

As the carpenter made the final adjustments to the new suite of furniture in his living room, the house began to speak, but that my friend is a conversation for another day.

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