Meditating Zombie

One of the things that happens when practicing yoga is we calm the mind. I know that if I give myself to the practice, whether it be the poses or breathing or meditation, what starts to happen is that I can slow down enough that I can then stop thinking. Or at least thinking so much. But the operative phrase there is “stop thinking” . For many of us, this “stopping”  is the sticking point. The thought of not thinking How could we do such a thing? Many of us, myself included, have the notion that if we stop thinking, we would, by default, be thoughtless. Or to put it another way, stupid! We’d be unthinking louts walking around without discrimination or judgement. This thought is almost unconscious. Yet our intellect, our memories, our judgments is even more important to us then our faces and the bodies that carry them around. So if we stop thinking, we’d be nothing but some ambling zombie void of personality. So in the back of our meditating minds, being a successful meditator is equivalent to joining the cast of extras in Night of the Living Dead.
And this belief undercuts many of our best efforts to slow the mind down. Or even noticing the quality of our mind in the present moment. Yet sometimes this thinking isn’t all that lofty. Sometime it’s obsessing, worrying, remembering how your brother bullied you 25 years ago, reviewing a grocery list for the 17th time, wishing you had said what you really meant to say last week in that meeting, regretting your past, longing for a better future, wanting a different color car; the list goes on. The thinking mind is often like cable TV with 175 channels and nothing to watch. Wouldn’t it be nice at times to turn it off and rest?
I ran across this statement In Thich Nhat Hanh book: Breathe, You Are Alive!, ask yourself if you believe it? “When we think to much, the quality of our being is reduced. If we can stop thinking, we increase the quality of our being.”  When you read this, do you buy it? I know my busy, obsessive, thinking mind won’t allow such notion of stop thinking, but then when I practice my yoga, I find it’s true every time.