Monkey Mind

I love monkeys. Seriously. Ask anyone who knows me and anyone who texts me. Fellow frequent texters can ASSURE you that the notorious three monkeys turn up in about every other text I send, and are usually accompanied by no actual words.  They just convey so much in their own little expressions.  As a side note, I would be lying if I said that a baby monkey (preferably one covering its ears, eyes, or mouth at all times)  s not the number one item on my Christmas list (hopefully Santa got my letter this year). It wasn't until last year that I figured out that those adorable emojis, the three monkeys, actually symbolized a profound proverbial principle. As I was touring around Ubud, Bali (aka the greatest, most magical place on Earth) I saw statues and wooden trinkets of those lil' guys EVERYWHERE. I thought, "Wow, those text emojis have really caught on." Actually (and unfortunately) I said this out loud and was then corrected by my dear friend who informed me of the "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" significance. I thought that was just a Buddha thing...I missed the whole Three Wise
Monkey bit somewhere along the way. Despite this clarifying knowledge, I have since continued to use these emojis, completely out of context, as they are just too darn good at expressing feelings. And mainly this one {*see right image}, which I believe is saying, "Aggghhhhhhhhhh."

Which brings me to my main topic of interest despite having digressed and rambled about monkey emojis for the entire opening of this post. And that topic is the ol' monkey mind {insert monkey emoji}. Yes, we all know the monkey mind. Far. Too. Well. We all feel the same way about the monkey mind. Agghhhhhh. It is the one and only monkey that I am not particularly fond of. I have always felt that this metaphor, the "monkey mind," is just so perfect. Picture a monkey quickly swinging from branch to branch, branch to branch, non-stop movement. Simply conveyed, this is precisely what happens in our minds. We go from thought to thought, worry to worry, non-stop CHATTER. And this chatter/noise gets particularly loud this time of year when our to-do lists and agendas begin overflowing to the most extreme degree. Some days, I feel like that monkey is taking his tree swinging party just a little to far and I want to yell and scream at that monkey mind and tell him to STOP. 

But this is when I know I need to stop. And BREATHE. Stop and breathe. Really, truly, and fully BREATHE. 

THE BREATH. It is a constant source of calm within each of us, that can be accessed at any time. All that's required is two simple steps: pause and breathe. Yet, we so often forget what the breath holds, we lose sight of its deep value, its capabilities to immediately transform. 

Lately my monkey mind has gotten the best of me. {insert monkey emoji ten obnoxious times}. And I couldn't figure out why. I'm breathing. We all breathe.  I pay attention to my breath - see, here I go, (quickly and inattentively) "inhale, exhale." Nope, nothing, nada. Yes, I had been breathing, just not mindfully. To mindfully breathe is to be completely present with the breath. I was going through the motions of breathing lately but my awareness was elsewhere. Way, way far away. And this was affecting me in SO many ways. My practice has been off, my mood shifted, no presence. My body was right here, but my mind, miles and miles and miles away. And then I remembered what I have been missing. I stopped. I surrendered. I sat in stillness. I allowed myself to become completely captivated, mesmerized by the rhythm of my breath. Every bit of my attention rested on the breath. And I invited a mantra to accompany the breath: Inhale Rise, Exhale Fall. Inhale Rise, Exhale Fall. I heard those words, I felt my abdomen gently rise and gently fall. It was just me, and my breath, and nothing else. 

And it was lovely, transformative. Immediately all of that chatter calmed, that obnoxious crazy non-stop-swinging monkey mind of mine stopped....for the first time in weeks...I felt stillness.

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