The Buddha was a renowned expert (slight understatement there!) on the workings of the mind and in explaining its workings. One of the ways he came up with to describe how we think most of the time was to describe our thoughts like a monkey swinging through trees. The monkey (our mind) grabs one branch (a thought) then another branch (another thought) and so on. This monkey is always on the move, there is always just one more branch she wants to get hold of.
So what are monkey mind thoughts exactly? They are thoughts like these:
- Your ‘things to do’ list.
- Have You make a mistake?
- Have You forgotten to…….
- That incident/ that person really P—–D me off . Constant chewing over what You could have, should have done in response to what happened.
- Will You be ready to ……. do something thing, go somewhere…
- Can You cope with …… you can put in any number of endings to this like ‘work’; parents; kids; etc.
- Will there be enough time to do (add your own list)….and what could go wrong if You haven’t got the time (insert your list of expected ‘calamities’).
- Jumping from one idea to the next.
I am sure you can add to the list!
One of the big troubles with all of these thoughts is that they tend be negatively biased. They can make you feel up tight and tense or dampen your spirits, putting you down in the dumps. Neither of which is a pleasant place to be.
So what can you do about it?
My top tip for calming your monkey mind:
My top tip for calming your monkey mind is to discover for yourself how mindfulness meditation can help you. A big step in this direction can be downloading and listening to my ‘Harmonising your Breath’ LINK practice. This teaches you how to focus your mind on one thing (like the movement of your ribs when you are breathing) and to gently keep that focus constant for about 10 minutes.
That focus on just one thing is where the magic is. It helps you chill out your monkeys 🙂
Then you will be in your Wisdom Mind Space.
- A mind space that is calm, quiet and peaceful.
- You are not overwhelmed with loads of negative thoughts.
- Slow your thoughts down.
- Where you can ‘see’ your thoughts rising – and if they are going to be harmful to you or to those around you, you can do something to change them.
You can soften your thoughts, re-direct them or even dismiss them as unreasonable….
My second top tip is;
Practice what you have learned with Harmonising Your Breath regularly – every day if you can. Many, including me, have really benefited and the more you do it the better the results!
Do you recognise the monkey mind description in yourself? Which monkeys tend to be the most active? I wonder if yours are the same as mine! Let me know by commenting in the box below.