The Monkey Mind

The Monkey Mind

The "Monkey Mind" is a metaphor that we use. This is a condition in which we feel restless, our mind just cannot stop. This expression is usually used when you try to meditate, take a rest or sleep and your mind just won't stop! On the other end, the monkey mind can get in our way when we need to focus and be productive.

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You will learn

  •  Why do we call it "The Monkey Mind"
  • What is a typical "Monkey Mind" behavior
  • What are the solutions



Hello, dear friend, in this episode, we'll talk about something that we metaphorically call the monkey mind. We'll describe it First of all, what is the monkey mind? Where is this metaphor coming from. And, of course, what we can do about this, how we can calm the monkey mind. The cases when I have heard this expression most often are when it's time for a meditation, someone wants to meditate. But they say, I cannot make my monkey mind stop. And, of course, in other situations, we may also struggle, it's not just the meditation pillow that brings this frustration, you may feel overwhelmed during the night or the evening, it may, it can make it difficult to fall asleep. Or even during the day, sometimes we may feel overwhelmed by the so called monkey mind. And, of course, there are people who tend to relate more to this. And it's like a pattern for them. There are others who struggle with this occasionally. And maybe there are some people who have never experienced this, even though I have some doubts, but it's possible, of course. So what is actually the monkey mind, the monkey mind is usually the condition in which we feel restless, like the mind is restless. And even though we may be exhausted, we might be tired, we may want to just take a rest or do something productive, the mind just doesn't stop. There are sometimes repetitive thoughts or random thoughts, or the feeling of distraction or confusion. So usually, there are two main situations when we struggle with this monkey mind when it's a problem. One is when as we said, we want to take a rest, either for a meditation or to fall asleep or just to relax. And the monkey mind just doesn't stop. So it is a problem in those situations, of course. And the other common situation is when we want to be productive. When we want to get certain work done, we have something important to focus on to work on to find the solution for but the mind seemed to be unproductive, confused, or distracted or going back to the same ideas. So usually, those are the two problematic situations. And there could be also different examples of each of those big situations. But it's either the problem to relax, or the problem to be productive. And in both of those cases, the monkey mind could be a problem. So it's interesting, where is this metaphor coming from? And what can we get from this metaphor from understanding better? The metaphor itself? Why are we calling this a monkey mind? Why don't we just call it restless or unproductive mind? Well, of course, it comes from the actual behavior of a real monkey. And by exploring this, we may understand, which are the biggest issues of this condition. So what is the typical behavior of a monkey? If you maybe find a YouTube video or one of the animal televisions and you observe the behavior of a monkey or maybe if you live at a place where you can watch them, maybe at the zoo, you will notice that monkeys have two very typical things that they are doing. One is that there is a very often unnecessary movement. If you watch the monkey, you will see how she is constantly moving everything her head, her feet Eat her fingers. And it's literally unnecessary. If you observe it, not all of her movements are directed the word something or have a real meaning. So, watch what the monkey is doing. And you will see that more than 80% of the movements are not really necessary there is on the particular goal. So, this is one of the characteristics of the so called monkey mind as well, unnecessary movement. So, the mind cannot stand still, there is the need to move constantly. So, this is one direction that needs to be addressed and explored, why you're not allowing yourself to stand still and relax? Do you feel like you constantly need to do something, because that is a very typical pattern that people who have or suffer frequently from the monkey mind condition. On certain level, they have the belief that they always need to do something that they just cannot stand still. And there could be many deeper reasons behind this. They may come from personal experiences, they may come from the family history, they may go even deeper. But this is one direction that needs to be explored. Why do you feel consciously or subconsciously, that you constantly need to do something or you need to move because that is a typical pattern for the monkey mind. And again, if we observe the monkeys, we will find that there is a lot of unnecessary movement there. The other typical pattern also coming from the behavior of an actual monkey is the tendency to repeat. Monkeys are repeating what other monkeys are doing. So once that one of the monkeys is doing something, the other ones will copy it, they will repeat it. And this could be a very helpful mechanism, actually, from an evolutionary point of view for the monkeys, because that's how the monkeys can teach each other in a way. And it can be helpful. But there's also again, possible unnecessary repetition coming with this as well. And the monkey mind, the human monkey mind, also tends to do the same, repeating something, repetitive thoughts, repetitive patterns, repetitive states, it's almost like it's a matter of survival. Because for the animals, from an evolutionary point of view, everything in their behavior has been a question of survival. And at certain level, the behavior is totally necessary and helpful. But when we evolve, some things can become more of a problem than an actual helper. And this is pretty common also with the monkey mind that we tend to repeat. Because repeating something is making us survive. You're repeating usually something that has worked at certain point. And the mind is very interesting because it tends to make connections sometimes where connections are not necessary. And what may happen is that you might have had a certain idea or believe, and you have handled with something. Now, it's not necessarily that the belief or the idea has actually helped you to do or achieve something, but sometimes your mind can make the link. And you subconsciously usually may take the idea that this has been helpful this belief or mindset or pattern, it has helped you are alive after all, in one way or another, you have handled with things. So let's just keep repeating what we already know works. But in our more complicated current life, we know that sometimes those connections could be inappropriate. And also, it's possible that even if they have been appropriate back then we don't necessarily need them now. And it can make it more difficult for us to progress. Because progress requires change. And the monkey mind is more oriented on survival, not on progress. So the way to survive, is also to repeat what has worked before. So this is also the second direction that needs to be explored. What are the ideas that circle through your mind? Especially if you have repetitive thoughts, especially if you have something that shows up all over again? And how we handle with this? Well, of course, first of all, we need to bring the awareness. And we need to explore our own reasons. What stays behind this, what is our personal story, why we think that it's not okay to relax why you feel like you constantly need to move. So it's also being transferred to your mind, who also kind of like gets the idea that there needs to be a constant movement, you know, to keep things going? And also, what are those patterns? Or repetitive thoughts?

What are you imitating? Because, again, this is coming from the monkeys behavior, imitation is a huge part of this. And you may imitate yourself in the past. By having the same mindset, the same beliefs, the same ideas all over again. And it's also possible that you may imitate people around you, consciously or more often subconsciously. So if there is someone around you, who is also restless, and has whatever issues, you may tend to pick up on that and imitate that. And you will find that usually in certain environment, there is something in common between people. If there is tension, you will probably find that there are many people or a couple of people at this environment who experienced that it's usually not just one, or if they are negative, or if they are depressed, very often, we tend to imitate each other. And this is also something that needs to be explored. It's about going deeper and exploring the idea of how ready you are to take risks, or to follow your own individual path. Is this something you are afraid of doing? Do you feel like it's safer to go with the group symbolically, of course, but sometimes things look quite simpler on the surface. Like, you know, okay, I have this monkey mind. So what I'm a little restless, my mind cannot relax. Well, what can we do? It's the modern live technology, we're overwhelmed. I'm not saying that this is not valid. But usually, there are more deeper reasons. And even though as I said on the surface, it may look like okay, I have This many others do. It is what it is. But if you go deeper, you will find probably things that you haven't expected in those two main directions, the unnecessary movement, and imitation and repetition. And when you get to the root of something, things can be resolved. Now, when you get a deeper understanding, it's not working through your subconscious mind, which means that the conscious mind can take the leading position. And then you can make new choices. And very often, even just by realizing why things are happening, they may shift or we can make them shift. So it could be quite an adventure and exploration part, if you feel like it's enough, like it's time to change this, I want to invite you to explore what is the deeper reason and to be gentle with this to respect this, because it's there to serve you. And yet, you have the conscious choice. And you can choose again. And of course there can be other benefits that may come with this. So I hope I have given you some valuable ideas to explore. And I hope that you will find your own answers. Thank you so much for joining me and I will catch you next time.

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