Don't Chase Your Thoughts, March 9, 2009

Larry Rosenberg

One time when I was visiting a friend, he kept playing with his dog, throwing a plastic bone for the dog to go fetch. It not only wasn't a real bone, it wasn't even a convincing fake; pieces of meat were painted on the plastic. Yet no matter how many times he threw the bone, the dog ran after it, with great excitement. He kept chasing this plastic bone, which had no nourishment whatsoever, as if it could somehow satisfy him. Suddenly I realized: that's my mind, chasing after thoughts. The mind doesn't think it's chasing a plastic bone with pieces of meat painted on it, of course. It thinks it's pursuing something that will have a vital effect on its life. But if we look more closely at the objects that the mind chases, we notice a similar lack of nourishment.

In contrast to that, think of a lion. Can you imagine how a lion sitting in that majestic way they have would react if you threw him a bone (especially a plastic one)? He wouldn't even notice. He'd just stare at you. Lions stay focused on the source. That's the attitude we need to have, sitting with that deep calm, that steadiness of purpose, not chasing after every bone that flies our way. We need to develop lion mind.

-Larry Rosenberg, from Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation (Shambhala Publications)

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maxim's picture

maybe the dog just wanted to play? shit.
your metaphor is awful
i think we should be more like the dog, intelligent and loyal and playful and loving. Not a greed filled lion who's only objective is to eat.