For all you people who have aspirations to meditate, or who are already doing it for some time and still find it impossible to tame that monkey mind, I have some good news and some bad news.
Let’s start with the bad news: after years of meditating, mostly on a daily basis, and often for at least 30 minutes or more, yours truly still has a VERY LOUD MONKEY MIND. Well, I must admit it isn’t too bad in my case, because I do not have a very stressful life, plus I don’t have a partner and a family, which always cause a million worried, stressed or anxious thoughts a minute. My monkey mind does keep going endlessly though, but it is mostly story telling that goes on during my meditation or just a lot of remembering. It is mildly entertaining, so I often just get totally lost in thought. But in all these years of regular practice the moments of true stillness are hardly ever longer than 30 seconds, and few and far between. It took me a while to stop seeing that as a personal failure, and it took me even longer to stop finding it frustrating and unfulfilling. But that monkey does never put a lid on its chatter, EVER. So far the bad news. (Did I just crush all your hopes or motivation to even try and start meditating? Sorry for that, but keep reading…the good news will perk you up).
The good news is that I found a way of working with that monkey mind, and tame it in a different way. I’m happy to share it here.
I am not a fan of one particular type of meditation, so I switch around between techniques now and then, and one of the things I regularly do is a combination of deep breathing with mantras (not out loud, just in my head) or positive affirmations. When I start such a meditation, I think I got the right phrases ready, but then when I get into it, I keep fiddling with the words for a bit, trying to find the perfect mantra for myself. One day it seemed that no phrase was the right one, so I kept fiddling for quite a while (what do you mean monkey mind in disguise?).
Then I realised that I could actually use this as a meditation technique in itself. Instead of trying to find the two perfect phrases (one for the inhalation, one for the exhalation) I made the whole meditation into a stream of consciousness exercise for my monkey mind. Every mantra-phrase I came up with, after having repeated it only a few times, had to be followed by one that tagged on to it. Go for it, monkey mind!
The inhalation phrase was fixed: “Connecting with God’s love and inspiration….” (God is just one of the many words I use to designate that creative energy that has such incredible and awesome plans for us and the whole planet. My use of the word God is not tied to any religion, and at the same time I do not reject or question any religion. Sometimes I replace the word God with Higher Consciousness, The Universe, Mother Nature or Goddess, depending on my mood). The most important part here is that with your mantra you tap into that endless resource of creative energy that is there to support is in our efforts, whatever you want to call it, and imagine yourself connecting with it and absorbing it on every inhalation.
The exhalation phrase kept changing every third or fourth breath out. So this is how my meditation kind of went:
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration (inhaling), I raise the vibration of every single cell in my body to its highest potential (exhaling)
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, my body is whole and healthy
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, it is easy to take good care of my body and myself throughout the day
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, I make healthy choices throughout my day
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, every cell of my body is filled with energy to get me through the whole day
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, I feel energised and motivated for all tasks today
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, it will be easy to get……..done today ( sorry, that’s private)
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, I am motivated and focused throughout my whole day
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, I am focused and inspired all day
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, helps me to inspire the people that I meet today
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, I have a smile in me for every person that crosses my path today
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, I can see beauty in everyone and everything today
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, I can find beauty and fulfilment in everything I have to do today
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, I feel grateful for everything I have and experience
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, I can see the good in everything that occurs today
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, I find the clarity of mind to learn the lessons that I need to learn today
Connecting with God’s love and inspiration, I can go through my whole day in a happy and relaxed way
And so forth (or repeat). There were definitely some more phrases, but I wasn’t taking notes while I was meditating, so I might have missed a few here. But you get the idea.
Now why is this good news? (Mind you, I only figured this out afterwards…).
Well, what happened here, was that the Monkey Mind was given an assignment. It had to come up with everything that I wish for myself to go well today: one short and to the point phrase at a time, and following logically on the one before. I tell you, my monkey mind loved this game, and really did its utter best to stay focused on its task of producing one (and only one) new phrase after every three repetitions. Instead of having to shut up completely for half an hour it still got a whole lot to say so it didn’t need to go off at a tangent of its own. But at the same time it got tricked into shutting up it’s endless repetitive useless chatter that does not really add anything to my life. Victory! Every phrase was a beautiful positive affirmation in itself, which I love, because affirmations are great reminders to help us be at our highest vibration throughout our whole day. Yay!
I felt amazingly fulfilled and grateful after this meditation, and will definitely make this into a regular practice.
So there you go, my friends, the good news it that there is hope for every meditator battling with their monkey mind….
Either you decide that you do not even want to try and shut it up, or……. you just have to give it something useful to do…….Wil you try it?
(Disclaimer: the phrases are positive affirmations, which means they are reminders to try and accomplish what they describe. I do not claim that I am perfect at fulfilling all of them in every moment of every day. Hey, I’m human too!