I only became aware this week of the Buddhist concept of the “monkey mind” when I was reading a story online about a depressed US army veteran who had been taught tai chi in order to quiet the negative voices in his head.
Another magazine article at home awhile back described an acquaintance of mine as having a “manic, fizzing mind.” The description was bang on.
I can relate …in fact this blog reflects a lot of things that just bounce around inside my head …I have to get rid of some of them in cyberspace…sorry!
But seriously ,apparently the average person has about 50,000 separate thoughts a day(many about the same thing) and a lot of those are not relaxing or mindful thoughts.They are of the “need to do this..now” and “next, that”, or just general worry bead handling.
Some of this is necessary for personal organisation and survival; too much of it causes mental and physical fatigue.We simply can’t unwind and become restless and unsettled.
Buddha wrote: “Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too, that which is called thought,mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night.”
The trick,supposedly, is to understand that aspect of ourselves and then tame the monkey, not fight it.
I won’t get into the mindfulness techniques to do that because I am no expert,but it is good start just to realise that maybe we can hold a thought,if a beneficial one, before launching for the next “branch” .
Lastly,the monkey picture was taken at a popular tourist island in Langkawi, Malaysia. There are constant warnings to the boatloads of visitors:”Do not feed the monkeys”,as they can be quite excitable and aggressive.
Good advice for those with “monkey minds” too!