We all have a monkey dancing in our mind jumping up and down on hundreds of thoughts that keep being thrown at us by our busy brain, which is trying to keep us alive and get everything under control. Some of those thoughts or most are negative thoughts, depending on who you ask.
The mind works in logical patterns. If we use those negative thoughts on them every day, if you believe them and act on them, your brain thinks that they are useful to you. Using those thoughts, you keep telling your brain to bring more of that negativity into the table as it seems to serve you. You use them so it must be what you want. Logical, right?
The real question then is, how do we do it, so our brain understands that we don’t recognize ourselves in these negative thought patterns? How do we tell our brain we don’t want more of that?
I like to think about this process as if our jumping monkey was on a highway. Multiple cars are passing by, each car is a thought, and our monkey jumps from one car to another following each of the trains of thought that he has in front of him.
If we think that each thought is a car, we have the choice to decide if we want to go for a ride in that thought, or we shall pass. To do that, the monkey who is used to jump around needs to become an observer of thoughts to make informed decisions.
With practice and training, this inner awareness will come from understanding where your monkey is and every time you see him jumping on a car you don’t want to ride on, you will realize this and come back to the side of the road where you can observe the traffic.
Only by observing your thoughts and being aware of what you think and what serves you will you be able to decide what thoughts are worth to jump on and go on a train of thought ride with them and develop them or not.
Meditation helps quiet the monkey as it works on the observer and awareness state of seeing the traffic, let go of the story, just be present without the need to develop any thoughts.
Become the observer of your thoughts to filter out what serves you and discard what does not. You can’t remove certain types of thoughts, but you can let your brain see that you don’t use them, and he will help optimize the options that throw at you.
6 easy steps from Monkey Mind to Inner Awareness:
- Be aware of your thoughts, observe their path in the road of your mind
- Realize when you are down the rabbit hole into a thought that you don’t want
- It doesn’t matter when you realize that the thought is there, or you are already in the car with the thought miles away from the original spot. Awareness is awareness in every step of the way
- Once you know where you are, decide if you want to be there. If you don’t, let go of that thought. See yourself getting out of that car and observe the road
- Practice, practice. In the beginning, you might see yourself inside the car when you have already driven miles away, but noticing it will get you closer and closer to see that thought when its generated and decide in that moment if it serves you or it doesn’t.
- Don’t believe everything you think. Question your thoughts
The more you decide what thoughts serve you, your brain will learn the lesson and change your thought patterns one thought decision at a time.
Enjoy a buddha sitting on the side of the road of your brain instead of a jumping monkey that exhausts you.