It was rampant yesterday. I’m not sure why. My monkey mind was clamoring to rule my mood and my day – or rather, to ruin my mood and my day.
Monkey mind – it’s a Buddhist term meaning “unsettled, restless, inconstant, confused, indecisive, and uncontrollable.” I use it to describe my thoughts as they race, question, doubt, and worry. My monkey mind is the part of me that rushes ahead to figure out the conclusion, dashing about here and there, unable to calm down and let go and let be.
I sat on the couch, trying to relax. As soon as I’m trying to relax, rather than relaxing, I know something is off. I couldn’t focus my attention, and my brain filled with a jumble of ideas, opinions, and evaluations, mostly critical. I heard myself condemning myself and others, finding fault with what I was feeling, and doing, and even thinking. My monkey mind was rampant. What could be glorious in that?
There’s an old adage that “it’s always darkest before the dawn.” I don’t think this is actually true. Nonetheless, it applies to my monkey mind because it is usually my darkest, most challenging moments that propel me towards a personal dawn. It’s when I’ve suffered, and gotten tired of suffering, that I am fueled to have a different experience or approach something a different way.
My monkey mind – my jumping about, unable to settle down, full of worry mind – forces me to be aware of my need for peace, calm, and quiet. Even as I struggle against peace, calm, and quiet. The part of my brain (and being ) that is racing, chastising, and relentlessly moving strengthens my desire to find a way to ease and soothe. To take a deep breath. To sip a cup of tea. To look for what’s working, beautiful, and comforting.
To feed my monkey a banana in the hopes of assuaging it, to allow it to play in the hopes of engaging it, and to simply find a way to let it, and everything, be.
This desire is the glory of my monkey mind.
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