Working with our monkey mind!
At times it can feel as if we have a monkey in our mind. We can feel out of control and our minds seem to have a mind of their own! Our thoughts jump from one topic to another to another. Our feelings can also bounce all over the place, leaving us feel unsettled. So what can we do when we feel the monkey has taken over?
Here I will discuss a couple of different options – EFT and Mindfulness.
EFT is a great tool for helping us deal with our emotions and what we are feeling. So tune in to how you feel – are you frustrated, annoyed, sad or angry? Whatever the feelings or emotions are you can use them in your tapping. Here’s an example:
- Even though I’m annoyed that my monkey mind has taken over, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway
- Even though it feels like there’s a monkey in my mind and I feel scared and out of control, I choose to accept all of me anyway
- Even though I feel frustrated and angry that my monkey mind is out of control, I wonder if I can accept myself anyway
Then complete as many rounds as you need to reduce these feelings and emotions as close to a zero on the SUDS scale as you can (10 = maximum anger etc and 0=none). You may need to do many rounds of tapping, depending on what is going on. Remember to be thorough and try to get to 0 if you can. Adjust the wording each round if necessary as you get closer and closer to the underlying cause of your monkey mind.
It can be hard to meditate when you have a monkey in your mind. It’s important here to bring the qualities of kindness, compassion and non-judgement to your practice.
Quite often the harder we try, the more the monkey plays up! So go with it – don’t judge, just acknowledge the different thoughts and feelings as they come up. “Oh there goes my monkey mind again!”. Note what type of thoughts you’re having and name them e.g. “thinking, thinking”, “worrying, worrying”, “planning, planning”.
Then very gently, bring your mind back to your focus – e.g. your breath moving in and out of your belly. Or you may want to use a certain body anchor to focus on e.g. the stillness in your feet.
You may need to bring your mind back tens or hundreds of times – and that’s ok. Your mind will naturally wonder from time to time and sometimes the monkey will want to play more! Each time just bring a calm, kind acknowledgement to where it has been and bring it back to your anchor. Some days will be easier than others. Always remember to be kind and compassionate to yourself and your practice. You really are doing the best you can.
I have found it to be really helpful to do some tapping before I meditate. I tap to identify the source of my monkey mind first. After tapping several rounds I am usually calmer and more centred. I am then in a much better position to sit down and do my meditation. I then find that my mind is much less monkey like and able to stay focused on my breath or body anchor for my meditation.
I recently discovered this wonderful poem about our monkey mind by Kaveri Patel.
Thanking a Monkey
There’s a monkey in my mind
swinging on a trapeze,
reaching back to the past
or leaning into the future,
never standing still.
Sometimes I want to kill
that monkey, shoot it square
between the eyes so I won’t
have to think anymore
or feel the pain of worry.
But today I thanked her
and she jumped down
straight into my lap,
trapeze still swinging
as we sat still.
by Kaveri Patel
I hope that this has helped you work with your monkey mind 🙂