Thought for this day…..Control The Monkeys
Our mind never stops. There is always an endless stream of thought, running through it. If you were to try to think of just one thing, it wouldn’t take long to realize, it’s not an easy task. Most people can not go a full minute without losing concentration. We go strolling down memory lane, or begin daydreaming about the future. This is when we are trying to concentrate! Normally our mind is just a tangled mess of unrelated thoughts. Every external stimulus we encounter, we judge and categorize, whether we are aware of it or not. The chatter is constant.. oh, look at that..that’s ugly, that’s beautiful…those shoes do not match that shirt..he needs to get a job …, she needs to learn how to drive…that man looks creepy..,someone needs to brush that kids hair…that woman is standing much to close to my husband..that person just looked at me funny..I cant do that…it goes on and on and on…..
Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, undisciplined and all over the place. We accept this as normal, because that is all we know. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can control our minds. We can slow down the chatter…quiet the monkeys.
But why? Why does it matter?
Why sober the inebriated chimps?
If we allow our minds to run rampant, we miss out on our real life. We allow our memories, beliefs and prejudices, to cloud our perception. We can’t see clearly. We are looking at life through the eyes of irrational drunken monkeys !
So what to do ?
The first step in calming the beasts, is accepting that they are there. They are a part of you, they are not going anywhere. Give them names….there is fear monkey, insecure monkey, judgmental monkey, worry monkey and jealous monkey, just to name a few. They are all stumbling around your mind, babbling senselessly. It’s useless to fight them. The more attention you pay to them, the more they act up. Like anything, they will repeat the behavior that attracts the most attention. The only thing you can do is accept them. Acknowledge them, when they start clattering around your mind. Tell them, “ I know you are there, but you are not going to get a reaction out of me. You are not in control here, so, go sit down somewhere!”(it’s ok.. You can talk to yourself, you do it all the time, anyway).The more often you dismiss them, the less they will rattle the cage.Next, you need to understand why they are there. Why they are constantly hounding you. Why do they do what they do .
They do what they do, because you taught them to !!
Everything you see, hear, smell, feel or taste, sends your subconscious mind searching for data, related to how you responded the last time you experienced the same stimuli. Your subconscious filters the external stimuli through a massive amount of stored information, and with this information, it decides what to tell your body to do..which monkey..if any should take control. You programmed your subconscious, by the way you’ve reacted to things in the past. You created the monkeys.
If you see a dog running at you, the way you react to the dog, is completely influenced by the way you reacted the last time you saw a dog. Maybe you were bitten by the dog, maybe you reacted with fear. That response was appropriate, at that moment, but this is a new moment. Maybe this dog is friendly, but as soon as you see this dog, your subconscious will dig up the response of fear and your adrenaline will kick in, fear monkey will start jumping, and you will feel that same fear. You are not experiencing the moment as it is, but rather how you expect it to be.
You experience it as it was..not how it is.
If something hurt you, made you mad, made you worry or jealous in the past, whether it was a dog, person or situation, your subconscious expects that ever time you encounter that same thing, your experience will be the same. Your conscious mind relays to your subconscious, “ hey..there’s a dog running at us, what to do ?”..your subconscious mind goes through the files it has stored and says, “well, the last time that happened, we were bitten” ..the subconscious then sends the information to all the cells of your body saying ..run ! So every time you see a dog your afraid. THAT’S IRRATIONAL ! Most dogs don’t bite. This dog might of wanted to play, and you missed the opportunity to enjoy the moment. Unless you retrain your subconscious, unless you find a way to discipline the fear monkey, you will never be able to experience a dog, or anything else that wakes the fear monkey, with anything other than fear. Fear monkey will remain noisily cluttering up your thoughts.
So how do you discipline the monkeys?
The word discipline comes from the word disciple, which means to teach. Like a child, you can not just sit your monkeys, in time out and not tell them why. You can’t ignore their undesirable behavior, without offering an alternative. You taught them to react the way they do, you have to teach them a different method. You created the old files in your subconscious mind, you have to create the new ones. You have to send new information to your subconscious, through your conscious mind. Your conscious mind is completely under your control, and through deliberate thoughts, and deliberate visualization, you can decide what information your subconscious has access to. You decide how you react. You decide whether the monkeys run wild.
When the dog is running at you, and fear monkey is jumping up and down, acknowledge him, dismiss him , and see the moment for what it is. You just might wind up with a big slobbery kiss. Your conscious mind will then send a message to your subconscious saying .. “hey, the dog ran at us, and we were not bitten..it was ok..nothing bad happened .” Your subconscious mind will then file that information away, and pull it up the next time a dog runs at you. It may take a few dogs running at you to completely keep fear monkey pacified, but eventually he wont even look up when the dog approaches.
You have been creating and reinforcing the files in your mind for a long time. It takes time to reprogram it. It takes conscious effort . It takes practice. Meditation can help. When you meditate, you still your mind. You train it to concentrate on one thing, on the present. While in meditation, when the monkeys start stirring, you just look at them and send them on their way. You see your thoughts, instead of thinking them. You see the emotion, without feeling it. After awhile the monkeys get accustomed to not getting attention from throwing fits, and they stop.
Your mind clears.
You can see what is happening in the moment, and respond to it with the emotion you choose, instead of allowing the monkeys to be in charge.