Taming the ‘Monkey Mind’


Monkey mind is a mental experience where we feel distracted, scattered, and overwhelmed,” says Susan Chen, a former Wall Street executive who left the corporate world 10 years ago to become a meditation teacher. “The mind feels like it’s in ‘thinking overdrive’ and often lacks completeness of action.”

Monkey mind is a term for the unconscious mind, which is run by habitual patterns rather than awareness,” says life coach and meditation expert Jenna Ji Min Lee. “Monkey mind can unwittingly surface as we may not control the many thoughts tied to past psychological issues and unresolved wounds. Have you ever taken a walk when you mind was racing, only to realise you spent the entire time worrying about work the next day and not a single moment looking at the beautiful sunset?” 

The monkey mind syndrome of constant thinking can strip us of the joy found in daily life experiences, such as being present for friends and family, enjoying a peaceful moment throughout the day, or even being focused at work,” explains Chen. 

Intuition is the core of our self, of our consciousness, true and trustworthy. Intuition is that voice of innate wisdom which can speak to us at any moment, as long as the voice is not distracted or disturbed by our monkey mind and the many voices of our ego. Learning to listen to and trust our intuition means we must be able to recognise these voices and ignore their deviations and temptations. We need to spend some time each day in some form of contemplative process – call it meditation, reflection or just listening to the self to recharge our spiritual battery in order to ‘settle the restless and rebellious nature of the monkey mind and receive strength’. 

Inside we have a spiritual centre, at the core of our consciousness, pure radiant eternal spiritual light. This is what we are. Go within behind the eyes and have an internal meeting with yourself, the thinking soul, separate from the body. “When you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, and remember you are an imperishable soul filled with light and might. When you get there, you will discover yourself to be like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, yet beautiful, clean and strong...”

Outside we have the sun of spirit, the Source, invisible to our physical eyes but available, only one second away when we quieten and focus our mind. Meditation connects us to this Source of power and helps us access the real vitamins of pure love and the minerals of truth and wisdom the spirit craves. 

However, the light of the soul has now become dim and our thoughts fuzzy due to being blocked by the record of life experiences, our attachments, unconscious habits, beliefs and perceptions. Become aware of the quality of your thoughts and feelings, of how sometimes you give your power to others, and your self-esteem occasionally fluctuates. Get to a point where your mood doesn’t shift, or your thoughts race based on the insignificant actions of someone else. Don’t be hard on yourself when making a mistake. Telling the self off is a terrible habit; it subtly shapes a nature of sorrow. It’s much more effective to be handled with love. 

We wish to slow down the constant stream of thoughts arising in our mind. With 40,000 to 50,000 thoughts generated each day, and most of them negative or wasteful, our mind gets tired. That makes it hard to focus, to find the right words or to stay positive. Too many thoughts and too much analysis, from mental processing pollutes the clarity of discernment. An overload of details makes us miss the essence. However with the quietness of inner silence the quality and the level of out ability to think clearly and make accurate decisions increases. Recognising “the only person we can change is ourselves“, we now consciously choose words and actions in the present, rather than being driven by the past memories and mistakes, or pain. We know how to act for the best, allowing us to use our time, thoughts and qualities effectively and benefit all. 

Think, talk to yourself and God and fill your heart with God’s love. Take time daily to go into periods of inner silence: “Turning inwards I watch my thoughts. I am a powerful being and consciously slow down the speed of my thoughts. I create pure positive thoughts. I remind myself, I, the thinking soul, am light and God is light. I connect with Him in meditation and silence. I feel the closeness of God, and feel my light becoming brighter and clearer by being surrounded and merged in God’s love and light”. During the day I pause for a minute every hour to rest my mind within the light. Upon waking and before I go to bed I meditate to create a positive mind. 

In this way put yourself at the top of your ‘to do’ list, and next to it write, ‘Being with myself‘. By taking charge and regulating your thoughts, your mind naturally slows down and thinks in the right way. Taking care of your mind takes the monkey out of your mind. Take time to empower yourself today.  Sit quietly and connect you mind to the Source. Allow yourself to recharge and renew….

…and stop monkeying around!

Contact:  Yvonne Risely, [email protected] [email protected]

 Sr Chirya is a student and teacher with the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University for over 40 years. She has a BSc from Cornell University in Education, is published in several national publications and the Daily Guardian (Delhi)