August 2006 – Monkey Mind

Monkey Mind

Don’t feed the Monkeys
The phrase “monkey mind” comes from a Buddhist description of the mind of a person who is not in the present moment. The mind of such a person is said to be likened to a monkey that goes from tree to tree tasting a piece of fruit from each and then dropping it and moving on to the next tree. As with many of us, our thought process runs in much the same way. We jump from thought to thought and project to project without being in the present and fully experiencing that moment.  (Have you ever driven, arrived at your destination and realized you do not remember the details of the drive?  If so, you lost the presence of that drive; the joys of feeling the machine of your car carry you through space effortlessly to your destination, enjoying the perfect temperature and music you can select in your vehicle, enjoying time to yourself, time to relax.)
When we feed the monkey mind we also have weak concentration, meaning the discipline to focus on the job at hand and complete it—efficiently and safely.  Also with the monkey mind comes many thoughts that are just plain not true, not ever going to happen, just pure figments of a mind trapped in an egoic lie.

What can you do?  STOP.  Just stop.  Now we can not stop the mind from thinking—if you think you can do this you are setting yourself up for failure.  How we stop starts with awareness.  Step out of your mind for a moment and watch it, laugh at it, and don’t believe everything it thinks!  When you catch yourself getting caught up in some story the mind is fabricating, stop the fabrication, turn your mind onto what is happening in the present, to a song, to a mantra or chant, to a pleasant memory—whatever works for you, but get your mind off the thought that is not true and find Truth to put your mind on.

The mind is not the best at discerning Truth.  The heart/body can FEEL Truth.

When we get caught in our stories (in our heads)—in the seduction of the monkey mind, we leave our bodies.  Fortunately, our bodies talk to us—if we are willing to listen; our body speaks to us in a language we can not deny:

  • A gut feeling
  • Something you can feel it in your bones
  • When you choke on your words
  • Something that took your breath away
  • Or made your heart skip a beat
  • That nauseous feeling in the pit of your stomach
  • Feeling as if your blood is boiling

These are just examples of how our body speaks to us, when we ignore the body talks louder in the language of disease and pain.  THE BODY IS ALWAYS PRESENT.
The business of the egoic monkey mind is to discern, judge, elaborate, define, interpret, analyze, criticize and so forth—all can be useful at certain times!  Just beware the ego of the monkey mind is after its own survival—it’s often not in service for the highest good—it’s on its own trip.
Our problems are just stories, our situations can be met with more clarity—solutions and guidance come to us effortlessly when we take time to get out of our monkey minds and into our bodies and listen to what our bodies are telling us.
The next time you are wondering which direction to go or are worrying about something, STOP, sit, place your awareness in your body, pull away from the thoughts in your head, what do you feel??????

The turnings of the mind rarely lead to new or important insights!  The babblings in the mind are typically more negative (lack, wanting, anger, fear) than positive (connectedness, gratitude, love, joy).
We react to others based on what has been turning in our mind—if we are ‘dancing with the monkey’ and creating a situation in our mind that does not really exist this makes us react to the people who are involved in this situation in a harsher more protective manner.  If we can get out of the ‘dance’ and face the situation as it unfolds in the present moment we will respond with more clarity and understanding.
At the bone level, the work we are doing here is simple—to recognize the monkey at work and turn our attention to our hearts, no matter how conniving, seductive, eloquent, or mean that monkey mind is!

The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle:
Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses,
It swings from one desire to the next,
One conflict to the next,
One self-centered idea to the next.
If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life.

Let this monkey go.
Let the senses go.
Let desires go.
Let conflicts go.
Let ideas go.
Let the fiction of life and death go.
Just remain in the center, watching.

And then forget that you are there.
–Lao Tzu

The eye can see,  
but cannot see itself ..
The fire can burn, 
but cannot burn itself ..
How can the mind think it can 

change its mind ..?

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