The ‘monkey mind’ is there to keep you safe, in its own chaotic way. It just needs a little taming!
Updated: May 19, 2019
Everybody has a monkey mind. It is the one that chatters away in your head. Sometimes, keeping it calm can be a real challenge, especially when it thinks its 24h a day job is to keep you alert and poised for any situation; even when you are trying to sleep.
The monkey mind, if left to its own devices will rule you; every waking minute of every day. Even the minutes when you're not supposed to be awake. It will do anything to keep you engaged in thinking about, or reacting to, the stimuli it is throwing out at you. This barrage can be constant when it gets really unruly.
There is a video below from a chap called Artie Wu. As Artie says in his video, the monkey mind is essential to keeping us safe and alive. It is super fast and drives all lighting quick reactions that means, in days of yore, we were more likely to survive an attack from either an animal or another human. We simply wouldn't be here as a human race without it. When well tamed, the monkey mind can be great for achievement drive, decisiveness and sharpness of thinking. This is when it is really useful.
However, in today's society, we do face some unique challenges. With all its pressure and high expectations, constant demands for greater productivity, a society sprinkled with some narcissistic people, 'social' media platforms, and media stories that can often be the genesis of unreasonable and unattainable expectations; all ensuring that the stimuli that feeds your monkey mind is constant and can make it quite obese and obtuse. When out of control it can dominate your life with negativity. Making it feel like this is normal, your normal life. When this happens, over a prolonged period, the thoughts that originate from an over zealous monkey mind can lead to anxiety; and this anxiety can lead to depression.
I used to have a very, very busy monkey mind. A very harsh mind. Overly self critical. Constantly thinking. Never relaxing. My own monkey mind has, at times, been intensified when I have spent too much time around one or two people who gave it bananas. It ends up being a bit like 'Stockholm Syndrome'! People with an unpredictable and inconsistent (often chaotic) approach to life; my monkey mind loved these people. They were like kindred spirits.
Until recently I never even knew there was such a thing. I just thought it was me. My monkey mind and me were one and the same; but they're not. Once I understood this I could do something about it.
I have learned to calm this over zealous monkey mind through mindful meditation. This calmness brought with it clarity and with this clarity I was able to make better choices. I went from feeling powerless to feeling really powerful - powerful with my own life and choices.
Artie Wu explains it brilliantly and simply in this short YouTube video:
I hope you find this idea useful. If you do please share it so that others can benefit from it too.
Keep well all.