When the ants come marching in…

May 10, 2010 By: celedra Category: Living with Intention, Mantra, Malas, Meditation, Mind Body Spirit

Would you let ants hang out in your kitchen?

Assuming your answer is “no”, then why do we let negative thoughts roam around in our precious brains?! And the damage is SO much more detrimental:

  • feeling bad about ourselves
  • imagining all kinds of unfriendly thoughts from people
  • feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty, powerless etc etc etc
  • spending lots of potential fun time on worry, worry and more worry
  • generally missing out on life – how can we be present to enjoy it when we are all lost in our little ant piles?

And it’s a choice! Granted, it doesn’t feel like a choice at this time, but indeed, it is a choice. It is a choice based on awareness, intention and action, all of which comes beautifully to light through the practice of meditation.


Insight meditation allows us to cultivate an observing ego. As we bring our attention to our breath, we can then notice the arising of thought in the mind – “thinking” we might note to ourselves, then back to the breath, back to the silence. Eventually, through practice, our breath becomes our ground, the place to rest in. And, eventually, our awareness of thought, the patterns of thought and the choice of either thinking or coming back to the breath becomes more and more available. We realize we are not our thoughts, we simply have thoughts. They come and they go. And, there is a pattern to our thoughts – are we thinking past, future, planning, having redo conversations? Check it out.


For me, I have to make a clear intention to not indulge in my random thoughts. Instead, to be observant, mindful and to make a choice. When I notice my mind caught in some repetitive quagmire, I come back to my breath or say a loving kindness prayer, or think of ten things I am grateful for in my life. I refuse to let ants just hang out in my kitchen!


A daily meditation practice really helps create the ground that we can keep coming back to over and over again. The breath becomes the resource, the center point around which thought, like swirls of wind, taunt us for attention. Insight meditation, also called Vipassana Meditation, is a practice that cultivates the observing ego so that the transient nature of the mind is clearly observed and the strong grip that the thinking mind used to have begins to soften and finally let go – and then there is freedom.

And the end of suffering. Peace.

To learn more about Vipassana Meditation, go to Spirit Rock Meditation Center or one of the many other resources online.

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