the buddha & the monkey

I was driving in the car today. Solo. All you mamas know how rare a solo trip is. Especially a 30 minute each way solo trip. Despite my love of music, I got in and turned it off. No NPR, no Ray, no nothing.

The quiet howled in my ears a little. The low rumble of the engine and rhythmic sound of tires on pavement at 65 mph. 

Just me, the car, my breath and my thoughts. (the monkey)

The monkey in my mind jumped around for awhile. My thoughts skipping around like stones across the pond. One after the other, after the other….. all sinking to the bottom. And then…. it was just sort of quiet in my head.

And I thought….. I am not, I just am.

It's one of those random Buddhist thoughts…. one that I think just sort of came to me. Maybe I read it somewhere…. maybe I am the one that thought it up. Or not. Because, I just am. I am not really I.

Am I making your brain hurt yet?

I (we) found Buddhism about 7 years ago. This way of living and seeing the world spoke to me at a time that I was grasping for some meaning, some slowing down. It sort of yelled out to me "just be, j-u-s-t be" and over the years the just being has gotten a little easier. Buddhism is a way of living, not a religion. It's often confused as religion, but Buddhists believe you can practice your faith and Buddhism. They do not worship the Buddha, only follow his way of living peacefully and mindfully. 

Focusing on the breath, the mind, the heart and being aware of things around you, it's all good stuff. It's helped me to be more calm, more patient, more loving and in the tip top of the roller coaster moments in life, when I know things are just about to careen downward at full speed…. I can stop and say to myself "this roller coaster is not where I want to be…. in fact there are a thousand other places I'd rather choose than this…. but this is where I am…. so I will just be here."

It isn't always easy. Sometimes I do it better than others. But that little Buddha is there… wisely smiling in my mind at just the right moment. I just have to slow down enough to notice him.

Just, be.


{PS ~ I recently updated the family living & kid sections of the book shop with some of our favorite Buddhist books, you can find them there, but here are a few of them.}

{PPS ~ I know there are many hardworking papas out there that also enjoy a solo car trip!}


Zen Shorts


The Family Meditation Book


Meditation for Children


Twenty Jataka Tales (my bigs kids have loved this)


Dharma Family Treasures


10 thoughts on “the buddha & the monkey

  1. Oh yes…that monkey! I spent 10 days alone (ALONE!! Can you believe it??) last month. It took at least 3 days for the ringing in my ears to stop. I haven’t been able to test it again to see if it’s back again. Will look forward to your book recommendations!


  2. Ah ye, Monkey Mind. 🙂 Despite casually studying and pseudo-practicing Buddhism & Taoism for the past 10-15 years, parenthood has thrown my monkey mind into overdrive. We’ve been looking for ways to practice as a family with the kids, so thanks so much for the book suggestions!


  3. Parenting does make the mind go into overdrive, I quite agree! And yet the flip side is that we have the beauty of living with little Buddhas. Children always inspire me to slow down, notice things and be forgiving. They do it so naturally. And then as adults we strive to get that back! I hope a few of those books are just what you are looking for 🙂


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