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Monkey Mind

The monkey mind is that busy little beaver (?!) that's always chattering away in your head. You were trying to meditate and up pops thoughts of lunch or that person who didn't say hi in the hall or that (gender neutral) hotty you interacted with three weeks ago or dinner or how you're a terrible meditator or that really funny joke you heard the other day or how it should have pooped before sitting down to meditate.

The point is not what the monkey is currently obsessing over, the point is THERE'S A MONKEY IN YOUR HEAD!

What? How did it get there? How do I make it go away?

The answers (which I have because I made the questions) are:

  • There's a monkey in your head. (Or an elephant, but right now I'm talking monkeys.)
  • You were born human.
  • You don't.

Now, this monkey is very clever. It can live your entire life with no intervention from you. In fact, you will likely assume that the monkey is you and helpfully give it a hand when it needs to do math or fill out a tax form or something complicated, and as you do this you will never ever suspect that there's a monkey in head. And the monkey might do a fine job of living your life, but, it's a monkey. Consequently it will often make monkey decisions which are not always the best decisions for a human. There's also the added complication that the monkey is like 50,000 years old and doesn't really understand the modern world.

So one day you sit down to meditate and you find these thoughts popping up. I've already told you that this is the monkey and now you've confirmed that it's there. I also told you that you can't make it go away, so what do you do? Train the monkey.

Meditation and mindfulness add a trainer to the mix. The monkey doesn't have to do what the trainer says but the trainer can point out when the monkey is going off track, about to make a bad decision. This isn't an evil monkey, it wants to be happy and live a good life that it can be proud of, but it's a monkey. It wants to learn, but it's a monkey, and it's probably pretty set in it's ways. And depending on how old you are you may also be set in your ways, which, since you didn't know the monkey was there, are probably it's ways.

Adding the trainer doesn't immediately fix anything, but just knowing the monkey is there gives you a new perspective for looking at things and maybe, for noticing that the monkey is getting up to hijinks and taking it in hand.

FIXME - this is off track as it runs off with the monkey and not the basic monkey mind

better as now starts from the basic monkey mind but maybe it goes too far? I can also see overlaps but I think those will just be a thing.