Noticing again how often SHOULD is running behind my thoughts and everyday functioning.  All the things I SHOULD do are worthwhile. But Should Do carries such a weight of judgment when I don’t manage to pull it all off. Of course, since it is the endless To Do list.

When I slow down enough to notice Should running behind the scenes, I feel how much tension builds up in my body.  Where it shows up for me is shoulders, neck and a little headache.  Then I recognize, Oh this is grasping in my body, muscle tension.  Oh, this is grasping in my mind at the future. Along with a little load – or a heavy load – of judgement.

Then I feel the fear under the judgment.  Fear that I won’t get accomplish everything on the To Do list.  Fear – what happens when I don’t do it all? Then, when I am able, I ask the mind to PAUSE and NOT run amuck down the familiar path of concocting a myriad of bad consequences, and instead to notice, Oh, this is fear. Then I feel how shows up in my body.  How my mind flies around in multiple directions with the sticky, panicky fear gloming onto whatever floats up into the mind.

Now I notice that spell check does not recognize gloming onto.  Glooming onto fear works pretty well too.

When I can get this far in awareness, keeping my mind awake, I can invite this mind to consider: COULD do. Along with that invitation, I have begun to ask myself: What is a choice of peace for this mind? I really would like more peace here at home in this being.

Right next to this entire process is the judge, sitting on the side, saying, Ugh, you should know this by now, because this is a lesson you’ve had to learn before. The hard, hard way.  So, you SHOULD know this.  Oh, oh, catch that thought. Another Should, a very potent one, SHOULD KNOW BETTER. Old familiar friend, I see you behind the scenes, playing puppet master of this mind.  Shake off those strings and take a walk, dear judge.  I will call on you when I need you to make a decision.  You are valuable for discerning when I need you. Not just now.

Now, instead, begin again with the most humble intent to be kind to this one, this mind that runs along its habitual, well worn grooves.  A mind that once again find itself stressed, or being a trouble maker.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. … There is no thought ‘I have attained something’….. So the most difficult thing is to always keep your beginner’s mind. ……  The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion.” – Shunryo Suzuki Roshi

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind