Human mind is very complicated- bombarded with about 100,000 thoughts per day and 7 times more stimulation than our parents/ grandparents. It is very susceptible to influences of all sorts coming from information overload, work pressures, meetings, deadlines, and many more. All this leaves the mind cluttered and confused. This cluttered mind is what the Buddhist term as “Monkey mind”, a mind in chaos and commotion – hyperactive, restless, jumping, screeching, hopping and shouting like a monkey. The cluttered mind is full of monkeys of all kinds – worry, stress, anxiety, procrastination, phobia and any other negative thought or feeling . The monkey mind keeps moving from one thought to another and the outcome is a life full of distractions, anxieties, worries, stress. The mental chatter the monkey mind engages in fills saps us of all energy, positivity, attention and leaves us high and dry.
When we resist or fight, we make the “monkey mind” more powerful, painful and in control of us. The best strategy to counter the “monkey mind” is
- · To treat it just as a “state”
- · To become more aware of it
- · To withdraw from it
- · Just observe it and not judge
All that we require to attain a balanced life is harmony between mind and body which can be attained by effectively taming the “monkey mind”. Some of the techniques that we could use are
· Yoga – Practicising yoga helps build the perfect mind-body connection through various physical movements or postures. It helps bring in more discipline in our mind and an ability to establish mind-body harmony.
· Act and not React – Its easy to get swayed by the situation and immediately react to it leading to dire consequences. Instead, whenever faced with a tricky situation, analyze what outcome you seek from it and then act accordingly.
· Meditation - Meditation of any kind if done properly is useful as it helps the practitioner build up focus and concentration. Sitting quietly for mediation brings peace and calmness.
· Mindfulness – Just “being in the moment” without any linkage to past or future would help the practitioner detach with thoughts of what happened or what might happen and enjoy the present.
· Breathing – Breathing helps shifts your focus internally and connect to your inner self. This helps build up the necessary awareness, resilience and calmness to tame the monkey mind.
· Affirmation – Giving oneself doses of positive and uplifting affirmation (in direct contrast to the various monkeys in our mind) would help build the necessary strength to keep moving forward with confidence and strength.
· Mantras – These act as “anchors” of our strength and their invocation give us the desired power to cope up with the monkey mind. The key here is to pick up the appropriate mantra, have faith in the power of every word contained therein and recite it.
· Praying – This is another form of “faith” where belief in a figure (deity, god or idol) gives you the power and strength to counter the monkey mind. Irrespective of the religion you follow, praying gives you immense power to build inner strength and tackle the monkey mind.
· Hobby – Doing something you enjoy or love helps you relax and view things differently (from new perspectives if needed). A relaxed state of mind is always more effective in dealing with monkey mind.
So, go ahead with the technique of your choice to tame your “Monkey Mind” !
N.B.: Many of the above mentioned techniques may have an overlap with each other. It’s purely for the sake of putting them in readable nuggets that they have been defined as separate techniques. Also, the above techniques have not been described in too much detail for the want of brevity. The reader may do more study and research to understand the techniques in more depth. (as I am myself currently doing for some of them !)