Writing about mindfulness and meditation

The sheepdog in my brain

One morning recently, driving past a farm, I saw sheep escaping from their pasture and spilling out into the road. I stopped the car to avoid scaring them and making things worse. Just as the sheep were about to enter another property, the sheepdog caught up with them and jumped and barked to corral them in the opposite direction. The ringleader was a mother with two lambs. She was quite aggressive towards the sheepdog—I thought she might actually bash past and escape into the garden beyond. But the sheepdog responded with enough energy to deter the sheep and lambs without harming them and the reprobates ran back along the road into the field.

I’d recently heard the meditation teacher, Christina Feldman, use the image of a sheepdog to describe the process of collecting the mind and it had seemed apt. However, it wasn’t until I saw this sheepdog working to gather the flock that I gained a visceral sense for this process...

...how we guard and if necessary restrain the mind to keep it in pastures where we thrive, pastures free of ill will, craving, self delusion, and self building.

When I see the mind creating a self, a me who has to make progress on the path, or when I am griping about something, I want to picture this sheepdog corralling the mind back to the pasture of the present moment.