The Mindfulness Blog

subscribe to RSS feeds

« back to all blogs

Helpless Helpless Helpless

I don't pretend to understand what Neil Young was writing about when he penned the lyrics, but it's a wonderfully evocative song that I've been singing to myself a lot, lately. Noticing, "blue blue windows behind the stars". Noticing a "yellow moon on the rise"-- noticing, "big birds flying across the sky"-- that's mindfulness in the middle of a song. So simple, so fundamental, so real!

And so reassuring. The song's refrain succinctly encapsulates the feeling that a lot of us fall prey to, as we contemplate the new reality that has been ushered in by the coronavirus pandemic. But the fact of the matter is, we are not helpless. And I'm quite sure that Neil Young didn't intend that refrain to be understood literally-- I believe he would prefer us to use our imaginations, and think figuratively.

Thinking figuratively, all of us need a place to go, but you know what? That place doesn't have to be a physical place-- it can also be in our minds. That would regretably mess up Neil Young's tremendous lyrics, but it's really true. The body may sometimes find itself helpless, but the mind affords us a very real refuge.

How best to avail ourselves of that refuge? Meditation (as well as the state of mindfulness that it helps me strive to achieve) are my answer. Short of killing us or causing a debilitating illness, the virus has not directly impacted the mind, and it does not seem to be likely to do so, at any time in the future.

If we still need a physical place to go then remember, we can travel there in our minds even if our bodies can't come along. We can see it. We can feel it. We can smell it. We can hear it. We can even taste it. And we definitely don't need to be Zoomers.

Noticing the stars, and the moon. and the birds-- noticing the moment. Noticing our thoughts. Noticing our feelings-- good, bad, or other. The things we notice may change, but the act of noticing will not change-- and that's what mindfulness is really all about. Notice, but don't attach a significance, or an outcome to what we notice. Notice, but don't judge, or quantify what we notice.

Bottom line (and with all due respect to the man whose music I absolutely love), we are not helpless, and one effective antidote to that particular feeling is meditation. We may not be able to go out much these days, but we can always go in !


Categories: uncategorized
« back to all blogs



Name (required)
E-mail (required but not shown)


Blog Articles