Cover Letters & Monkey Minds
I’ve written all kinds of cover letters in the past 2 months. The job search has been a pain. I had a phone interview yesterday with a lady that forgot we had an interview the day before…maybe she’ll forget to hire me?
I have some observations from the past week.
“Monkey mind” is something Buddhists call a mind that cannot be still. An undisciplined mind, if you will. Monkey mind distracts us from being in the moment. It judges, analyzes and worries and therefore, it’s shit. Stop the monkey mind. That’s been on my (monkey) mind.
Monkey mind has been in my thoughts but what’s been in my thoughts even more is the idea of getting back to meditating. I used to meditate at a Buddhist temple in Tampa, Fl. and I know there’s one in Jax. I had a bell. I had cushions, candles, a Buddha statue and a place set aside just for meditation. I miss it.
I was reminded of it the other day at the drum circle when, as part of the opening ceremony, we chanted together. There were about 40 people and we all had our heads toward the center of the circle. It was a tight fit and my arms were so scrunched up that I ended up only being able to lay them on the center of my chest.
Have you ever “Om’d” with others? Or by yourself? It’s fantastic. I tried to find a good YouTube video on it but they all suck. The closest thing I can explain in regards to experiencing it is if you where ever in choir or if you’ve ever been part of a singing group. When everyone is on the same note and holding it there’s a certain vibration, a unified chord, note or tone that emerges and it sounds like one voice. One very strong voice. It’s cool and therefore the Om is cool. As a matter of fact, you should try it.
You can start in whatever key you’d like. It turns into 3 sounds. The first part is “a” (long a) and turns into an “o” which turns into an “m” sound. Now you know what it’s supposed to sound like, where do you start? Just start. Take a really big breath (from your diaphragm) and just bust out with it.
It doesn’t matter how long or short your Om is. Do it for as long as you want. In my experience, it’s better when it’s longer. To me it feels like I’m cleaning out my system. It’s purifying. Not to mention it lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
My roommate and I Om’d on Easter Sunday at the park. There was something magical about it. I kept thinking someone was going to come up and do it with us which, in my intuitive mind, makes me think someone wanted to. It’s a freeing feeling when you can do something like that and not worry about being judged or worry about what other people think.
While looking up at the sky I saw this “J”. Weird huh.
The damn cover letters.
Saying the same things over and over and over again. Repeat. Change a few words. Repeat. Change the address. Repeat.
Change the salutation. Repeat. Revise a paragraph. Repeat.
Out of all this, I feel an actual cover letter emerging. I real cover letter. One that actually says who I am and not what I think employers want to hear. Something that truly explains who I am.
I am reminded of when I had the students in my Critical Thinking class “observe” a fruit for 45 minutes. They each brought in a piece of fruit for the project. Once class commenced I had them make two columns on their single sheet of paper. The left column was headed “Observations” and the right side “Distractions”. I had them write everything they could about the fruit on the left hand side. The smell, touch, taste, texture, anything at all. On the right hand side I had them write down when their thoughts strayed onto something other than observing the fruit. Some examples were “thought about what to make for dinner”, “why is she making us do this”, “someone just walked by the classroom”, etc.
I am reminded of this project because of Swiss paleontologist, Louis Agassiz’ approach to teaching a pupil how to observe. Google “look at your fish”.
Scudder gave his reply in terms of what he had seen in his first hours with the fish. Agassiz listened and replied:
“You have not looked very carefully; why,” he continued more earnestly, “you haven’t even seen one of the most conspicuous features of the animal, which is a plainly before your eyes as the fish itself; look again, look again!” and he left me to my misery.
What I am noticing is something is emerging from the repetition. Something that has not yet truly emerged. Something that almost makes me want to write about 50 more cover letters just to see what happens.