Kiva Mind

The phrase “monkey mind” is a phrase used to describe the fitful leaping from thought to thought experienced when you’re trying to focus on the breath. Sitting with our new kitten, Kiva, this morning—me reading and her bouncing from activity to activity–the phrase “Kiva mind” came to mind.

Kiva is named after the Pueblo ceremonial sites that—unlike Christian churches with spires reaching toward the heavens—are embedded in the ground. (And “Kiva” is also a Gaelic name that means gentle and beautiful.) Our Kiva was rescued from a dumpster drain with a swollen face and hypothermia and so she knows what it means to be stuck underground. But after a month with us, she is cautiously joining us in the world of light–with a tentative boldness that perhaps a kiva is designed to promote: empowering a return to the light after grounding in the earth.

The world is better than I thought

When that phrase, Kiva Mind, came unbidden to my mind, it was a pleasure to witness the buoyant, playful quality she was manifesting: care-free and agile in body and spirit; able to explore her surroundings and discover unlikely points of interest (a loose thread in a carpet she had flipped over, a plastic ball, a coiled plastic spring, a sound elsewhere in the house, something outside the open window, the different levels of her new cat tree that she traverses as if gravity scarcely exists.

Remembering that it wasn’t that long ago that she was scarcely willing to venture forth from her dark retreat under the bed, I felt that “kiva mind” was a fine place to be.

Everything has its positive and negative aspects, often depending on where we are coming from: darkness allowing us to recognize the light; suffering allowing us to welcome relaxation and appreciation; discouragement providing the soil in which hope and joy can blossom.

But when we notice that our mind is bouncing back and forth between one inconsequential thought and the next, we may feel the need for centered awareness and long for a reprieve from “monkey mind”; in quiet contemplation we may find the comfort of calm and wider perspective in the midst of too many perspectives jumping on the bed.

Kiva reaching for a pen, something on her mind.
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