Taming the Monkey Mind

People I like and respect have told me that when we simply give ourselves over to life’s current it will take us where we need to go, that there’s a purpose for all of us. I don’t know if I entirely agree. Sometimes I think life is just random. Not everything happens for some greater reason. Sometimes things just are. And as for going with the flow–what about carving out a destiny? Meeting challenges? Overcoming obstacles? How can you get anywhere by simply letting life take us where it will?

But other times I think I understand what they’re saying and have been missing the point all along. They’re not talking about sitting back and passively waiting for opportunity to roll out the red carpet, but to keep a quiet heart and mind in the midst of turmoil and allow life to point us in a certain direction, then follow it.

This might be what meditation is all about. Teaching our mind to be quiet is probably one of the kindest things we can do. And one of the hardest. Buddhists call it the monkey mind. It hops around from thought to idea to memory to speculation. I used to think my mind was a toddler, but it’s probably an adolescent monkey. It can’t sit still and it’s filled with attitude.

But I’ve been trying to apply this theory of giving myself over to life’s current lately as I try to get the ground back under my feet. On the one hand, how free I am! I could go anywhere. But maybe that’s the monkey mind acting up. Why am I thinking of going anywhere? I just got back from six months in India. Why, for once in my life, can’t I just be satisfied with where I am? Will I ever learn to be still?
It’s the monkey mind.

Or maybe it’s true what another friend says of me–I’m an adrenaline junkie.

So I’m learning to just sit. To just be with things. No expectations. No worry. It doesn’t do any good any way.

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3 thoughts on “Taming the Monkey Mind

  1. These seem like some very good thoughts… and that you have some good friends, that are talking to you… it might be worth taking some time to think about that.

  2. Very, very thought provoking. Like this piece a lot – & the pics of the monkey too. It’s just such a riddle, go with the flow or carve out a destiny etc etc. Just too much a riddle!

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