Mind Chatter - There's a Name For It
Saturday, September 21, 2019
That endless chatter that goes on in your mind? That multitasking in silent mode, jumping from thought to thought, whether you're mulling over things that happened yesterday in trying to sort it out, planning your day, or worrying about the future, there's a name for it. It's been called the monkey mind. Why? Because eventually, you start to feel like your thoughts are spinning in circles leaving you totally confused.
One way to tame this insubordinate in your head is to channel it through meditation – although the paradox is that when you clear your mind for deeper expression of thought you actually invite the monkey to play. In order to tame this mental beast before he grabs the opportunity is by moving beyond thought – by becoming aware of your thoughts rather than thinking them. The difference is subtle but significant. In being aware of your thoughts, you can let them rise and slip away into the universe without letting them pull you in different directions. Being able to concentrate allows you to slow your thoughts down and instead focus on observing them.
To develop your concentration, you'll first want to start by focusing your breathing while you meditate. Whenever your monkey mind starts acting up, observe your thoughts and then return your focus to your breath. Some breathing meditations call on you to focus on the rise and fall of the breath through the abdomen, while others have you concentrate on the sound of the breath. Fire can also be mesmerizing, and focusing on a candle flame is another useful tool for harnessing the mind. Keep the gaze soft and unfocused while observing the colour, shape, and movement of the flame, and try not to blink. Close your eyes when you feel the need and continue watching the flame in your head. Chanting, devotional singing, and mantras also still the mind. How ever you choose to tame your monkey mind, you'll need to do it with firm kindness. So, the next time the chattering makes its appearance, take notice and allow it to go away. With practice, your monkey mind will become quiet and so will you.