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Have You Ever Tried to Meditate With a Bunch of Frogs?

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This past week, while leading a yoga teacher training at Stratton Resort, Vermont, for my company Health Yoga Life, we hiked to a gazebo in the forest by a little pond. (Whenever we come to this very still pond, I immediately think of my friend and musician, Gurunam Singh's song, "Like a calm lake my mind is still." As the pond is so still it creates a mirror like surface. ) As we approached the gazebo, I instructed all the participants to go ahead and take a seat inside for our morning meditation. No sooner had we started to meditate and all of a sudden RIBBIT, RIBBIT, RIBBIT.

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As I sat in my meditation I watched my mind wonder to the frogs, then to thoughts about how the participants must be distracted by the frogs, then back to my mantra, then back to the frogs, then back to the mantra, then to thoughts of how nice the breeze was, then back to my mantra. And so on and so forth. At one point I noticed anger well up about the frogs; HOW DARE THEY? At another point joy, HOW FUNNY? And then back to preferring my mantra. We completed the 20 meditation and walked back to the lodge.

As I thought about the experience of meditating by the calm pond, I had a little epiphany. We think when we meditate our minds should be just like that calm lake....perfectly still. But the truth is our thoughts are just like the frogs. Frogs don't magically stop croaking in the place they call home, because I decide to meditate there. Just like thoughts don't stop to come, just because I decide it's time to meditate. It's in the practice of meditating that you begin to see that you control your awareness behind your thoughts. Whatever your awareness goes to grows. As you bring awareness to your mantra, your breath or the space between your thoughts, the little nagging distractions of the mind (sensations, feelings, thoughts) start to lose their grip over your awareness. And therein lies ultimate liberation of your being. This is why you meditate.