Spiritual Directors International

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The Crowing Rooster: A Lesson in Mindfulness

Guest Author: 
Karen Campbell

My neighbors at our mountain cabin now have a flock of hens and a rooster. I am sitting on the screened in porch doing my morning meditation, trying to calm my racing mind and settle into silence; the rooster crows, and the rooster crows, and then again the rooster crows. That blasted rooster is on autopilot, impulsively, instinctively doing what he is used to doing … so he crows, and he crows, and he crows.

I began to think about myself and what in my life is like the crowing of the rooster. Where are my actions or reactions on autopilot? What do I do in my life that is as automatic as the rooster crowing?

I was reading the other day that any pattern of thought or action that is repeated many times can result in a neuro-signature, or “brain groove”. When I do or think the same thing over and over in response to stimuli our brain creates a pathway of interconnected neurons, or a “brain groove”. So instead of actually thinking about what I do or how I think about a particular issue, I am on autopilot—I am, in effect, the crowing rooster.

Where have I allowed negative “brain grooves” to encroach on mindful thoughts and behaviors?

I just finished reading Paulo Coelho’s The Witch of Portobello, where the teaching about raising spiritual awareness stressed the need to step out of the ordinary reaction to the rhythm of life and do what actually feels discordant as a practice to feeling the Spirit’s presence. Perhaps that is why so many of the great mystics truly marched to a different drummer.

This week I will pray for illumination, for increasing awareness of where in my life I have a crowing rooster that needs to be examined, that needs to be brought into my prayerful awareness. I will mindfully choose my actions and my thoughts, even if they feel discordant so I get rid of some of those blasted crowing roosters in my life and step more fully into the presence of the Spirit.

Where do I find myself acting on autopilot? Where have I allowed negative “brain grooves” to form in my life?

Written by Karen Campbell, North Carolina, USA
Image credit: cybaea


Betty Souza's picture
Submitted by Betty Souza (not verified) on

Having just returned from the island of Kauai, I met roosters and chickens everywhere. When hurricane Iniki struck, the housing for farm animals was devastated. Once released, the chickens and rooster became self supporting. Public and private places are occupied. While resting at the pool/ocean in the evening the roosters crow.They announce it is evening, get ready to rest. A natural reminder that this is family time, rest time and time to be grateful. At sunrise, the roosters crow. Sun is up, time for action. Honor the day and then proceed. Not all have reminders.

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