Have you heard of the phrase “monkey mind?” It originates from Buddhist term meaning unsettled, restless, capricious, inconsistent, confused, indecisive, uncontrollable.
Now that you have the idea of what it means, have you ever experienced monkey mind? Yep, me too. The term is such a great metaphor.
I had some knowledge of monkey mind when I began my journey of learning about meditation while on a silent retreat at a Monastery.
However, when I had the privilege of going to Nepal and saw monkeys in the wild for the first time the meaning became so much more clear.
Actually they weren’t in the wild they were at the Kathmandu airport! I always thought I liked monkeys, I think I still do, but these were, well - they were freaky. They were out of control. Or so it seemed. Thanks to Brian (my hubby) for taking these pictures.
At first they were somewhat endearing, seeing just a few playfully hanging over the roof looking down on us while we waited in line to get into the airport. But when they started “calling” in their friends (honestly I think they were a gang), then it got a little disturbing. They were running wildly up and down the roof of the building, never sitting still, chattering all the while… and then they started running after us! I know they look calm in the pictures, but believe me they were freakin' us out!
When I actually saw their behavior up close and personal I could totally relate to what the term monkey mind really meant.
So, why do we need to tame our monkey mind? Why is it so important? Because in our day and age we are multi-tasking more than ever before in our jobs, in our family life. We are distracted, and social media and technology keeps our minds bouncing around more than we realize and we are getting more and more anxious, depressed and generally unhappy.
I just ran across an article in Forbes Magazine - 7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change The Brain. It details the research on how meditation “produces measurable changes in our most important organ - the brain. Studies also report that meditation helps relieve our subjective levels of anxiety and depression, and improve attention, concentration, and overall psychological well-being.”
But back to “monkey-mind.” “One of the most interesting studies found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts – a.k.a., “monkey mind.” Since mind-wandering is typically associated with being less happy, ruminating, and worrying about the past and future, it’s the goal for many people to dial it down. Several studies have shown that meditation, through its quieting effect appears to do just this. And even when the mind does start to wander, because of the new connections that form in the brain, meditators are better at snapping back out of it.”
So, ready to get started calming your “monkey-mind?” Perhaps you have questions on the how-tos. Well, I’ve got some help for you. Besides the Sacred Space Retreat, (your personal retreat where I lead and teach you how to meditate) I am now offering a Tribe (Group) Mediation Retreat. It starts in February so be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can get the most current updates on these special retreats. Or, just check back on my scheduling page. Be sure to reserve your spot since seats are limited. It’s going to be great and your “monkey-mind” is going to thank you!
Till next time,