The Natters

We all have interior natter as we stumble through life. Talk that goes on in our head about the world. Sometimes it’s useful , “look right, left, right, before crossing the street. Arguing with the lover who didn’t share the chocolate with you 15 years ago, since you broke up 10, not so much. Discussing money with your parents isn’t going to pay the rent. Discussions with the ghosts of our lives doesn’t make them go away at all no matter the logic we use.

So take a deep breath pay attention to this body in the moment and go back to nattering. Meditation is supposed to put you in the moment but unfortunately what you find is that a quiet 30 minutes is a great place to carry on the nattering with ghosts.

Nattering can be lying, harsh speech, divisive speech, and idle chatter, the categories of wrong speech. They create ill will with others and make you a grumpy ashole when you do it in your head. Much of the speech of the last fifteen years has done nothing but drive all of us nuts. So why do we do it with our own brains?

Buddha’s rules for social media, or right speech, kind, useful, timely and true work to make the world a better place. Can we apply these rules to ourselves to make the inner natter go away? Lately, my daily meditation has been “May I be happy, and know the seeds of happiness. May I be free of suffering and the seeds of suffering. May I be well, at peace and rest in the joy of equanimity”. What Buddha would have called “metta” in Pali, his native tongue.

What is interesting that when my natters start, and I feel the waves of grump wash over me, these phrases are coming into my mind almost unbidden. My natters are being replaced with the metta statement.

Because resting in the joy of equanimity means basically letting go of my big-shot opinions and just be in this moment, I have to stop the art theory and focus on the shape of that eye I am drawing. I have to let go of my history with editors and draw the hand.

It’s become a very effective tool in forcing me to drop the natters from my thought patterns.

Right speech, it’s what you get when you blog.