In the eastern culture there is an expression called “monkey mind.” It means that your mind is distracted; racing around all over the place, just like monkey that never sits still. A racing mind that ricochets all over the place is a dangerous mind, because it cannot focus on any one thing long enough concentrate, make important decisions, or have a deep conversation with someone. We don’t have monkeys in the United States, yet we do have squirrels, and they too race all over the place. Same concept! It’s no secret that with all the distractions of modern technology, from smart phones and Ipads to video games and text messaging, humans have a serious epidemic of monkey mind, or squirrel mind (take your pick). It’s actually the ego that steers the mind’s attention in a million different directions, and while some people call this “multi-tasking” with pride, the research is clear: mutli-tasking; the art of doing more than one thing at a time and doing them well, is a myth. Monkey mind no more!
Stress Tip for the Day:
Renouncing the world, moving to a monastery or becoming Amish isn’t an option for most people these days, but there is a proven way to rid yourself of monkey mind. It’s called meditation. In the eastern culture there is an expression that states we need to“ domesticate the ego” (this is code for ridding yourself of monkey mind). If you don’t already have a meditation practice, now is the time to begin. To begin, find a quite space in your home or office and sit quietly for 5-10 minutes. Close your eyes and focus solely on your breathing. Whatever thoughts come to mind, simply acknowledge them and then let them go as you exhale. Make a habit of doing this every day. One more thing that helps with taming monkey mind is keeping healthy boundaries with your technology. Let it serve you, rather than becoming a slave to it, in all it’s many forms. As an example, turn your cell phone off (including the vibration mode) from 9-11 am every day, so you can focus on what you need to do all day without the flood of distractions.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
For more info on monkey mind, consider checking out these links:
Quote for the Day:
“I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the monkey mind. The thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl. My mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.” — Liz Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
Photo for the Day:
While in Rio de Janeiro a few years ago, I was able to take a day trip to Sugarloaf Mountain, where I saw these monkeys, and while they may looked relaxed in this photo, believe me, they certainly had monkey mind.
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the forthcoming, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.