In yoga philosophy we often talk about quieting the mind, getting away from the constant chatter of thoughts that make absolutely no sense most of the time. In fact, we call this chatter “monkey mind”, we compare the thoughts to a group of chattering monkeys jumping from one branch to the next, screeching and generally making no sense.
We all suffer from monkey mind, and to varying degrees it can be debilitating. I’ve seen so many people let the monkeys freeze them with fear; it’s really kind of sad. The older I get and the more I pick up the spiritual tools such as prayer, yoga and meditation the more I have come to be able to quiet the monkeys or at least know the difference between their chatter and the truth.
These “monkey mind” thoughts are so random that if we were to jot them down for 10 minutes we would laugh at them, we would see how crazy our minds really are. Anger, lust, greed, loneliness, self pity and more can drive these thoughts. I have seen people talk themselves out of good relationships, good jobs and new positive changes, simply because with every change we make in our life the monkeys start to chatter. I’m convinced that the monkeys don’t want us to be happy. They are like little devils with the evil grins whispering in our ears, playing on our fears and ultimately keeping us from reaching our true potential.
Oh how the monkeys like to access our deepest fears, fears such as’ “we are not good enough”, “we are too old…too fat..not smart enough”, “here we go again”, “this will never work out”, “what will other people think?”
The monkeys keep us in unhealthy relationships. I know this because I have been there, staying in a bad marriage because the monkeys whispered that leaving would be wrong. They told me I would never make it on my own. They screamed at me “what kind of woman breaks up a family,” and more.
The monkeys talk us out of being happy for the success of others, they whisper things like, “it should have been you”, and words like “she/he didn’t earn that promotion”.
Sometimes we repeat the monkey’s words, this is called gossip, and we spread their negatively out into the world.
The monkeys keep us unfit, they don’t’ care how we feel about ourselves; their role is to keep us down anyways, so why exercise? They talk us into staying home, resting, putting our feet up and having a glass of wine; after all we work hard and deserve some rest. The problem is those tomorrow’s build up and soon it’s been months and even years since we did any exercise and now we are afraid to get started. The monkeys’ tell us that it’s going to hurt, that everyone else will be so much fitter then us that we will look foolish, they convince us that we are too old to get started, too busy and more. You get the point? The monkey’s never stop talking! They work overtime in our minds building walls of fear that keep us from reaching our true potential.
During times of high stress or change the monkeys can be so loud they prevent us from sleeping. The other day I was chatting with a friend and we agreed that it would be great if we could take a machine gun to the monkeys in our head, quieting them for good.
Let’s look at those fears. One of the biggest ones is what will people think? Oh how we worry about the opinions of others. If I fail they might laugh. But let me tell you if they laugh then they were never friends, true friends support us in our new paths. Failure is good, it teaches us to reinvestigate, to make decisions, to stand tall. Most of my ideas don’t work out. I have long gotten beyond the fear of what people will think, in fact I believe that people think mostly about themselves and give only brief thoughts to us anyways.
Another huge fear, is the fear of not having enough money, I can’t tell you how many times in business I have been lied too, let down, cheated on and more, by people when it comes to money. The monkey’s always tell you that you need the money, that the boss doesn’t deserve it, and that you do most of the work anyways. But as a business owner I can tell you this, no one who has ever worked for me has ever slept on the studio floor out of exhaustion, cleaned toilets, or stayed up until 2am trying to balance books.
With women I find the monkeys like to pick at your physical self image, they like to tell you that you are fat, really really really fat, in fact you look gross today. Not only are you fat but your breasts are too small and they sag, they tell you that happiness will be yours once you have that perfect body. You know the body? The one of the 14 year old girl on the cover of a fashion magazine that has been airbrushed, that 14 year old model hasn’t had 3 beautiful children, nor has she even reached her physical maturity as a woman, her curves are yet to come. Yet the monkeys tell us we should look like her.
I’ve been married twice so I know how the monkeys can affect my relationships with men. My late husband Frank, rarely if ever complimented me, he was reserved and I often accused him of being cold, yet his actions showed me that his love for me ran deep. He was committed to our relationship beyond anything that words could express. In the early days of our relationship I can’t tell you how many times the monkeys told me he was cold, or uncaring and that if he really loved me he would say it first or at least more than once a year. Oh how the monkeys love to mess with our relatioinships, creating separation from the truth. The week before Frank passed away, he grabbed my hand and told me that although he had never been able to tell me how great it was, that our life together had been terrific and that he had always cherished and loved me.
What about when my monkeys talk to your monkeys, then we have a collective consciousness of monkey mind. This gets really scary and is the topic of another blog for sure.
So I guess what I am trying to say is don’t’ trust your mind, it’s full of banana’s and will often talk you out of doing what is right for yourself, because the monkeys fear change. So if you are making major changes know that the monkeys are going to start screeching and laugh at them. Don’t go backwards, move forward toward the reason you are here, which is be happy and a shining example of the universe.
One day at a time try not to feed the monkey’s LOL.
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