212 – How do I train my monkey mind

We are all familiar with an agitated and distracted mind. As children we were made to stand in corners or put our fingers on our lips. We were told that our attention span is that of a gold fish’s (five seconds). As adults, we continue give in to our frantic thoughts and try to fight them. Even in a Yoga class, we will fidget. It is not unusual at all. And now we wish to practice meditation. How should we go about it? We could not sit still as kids and this habit persists. As adults we can now be compared to having a monkey mind. It is really frustrating as some of us are not aware of our ineptitude.

Tamasic guna means a sluggish and lazy disposition. It is a strong description but some of us are like this. How do we handle our tamasic temperament and also learn to practice meditation? The appropriate way to deal with a disobedient mind would be as one would handle a problematic child. Ignore the willful behavior of the child. Do not force your mind to concentrate and do not get upset with the thoughts crowding your mind. We need to practice a very basic sadhana of Antar Mouna (Inner Silence). All that is required is that we should be a witness to what is happening externally and internally, impartially.

There is no involvement on our side.

We are witnesses and it is like watching a series of images, externally and internally. No effort is made to engage or quieten the mind. The posture can be anyhow. No attention is paid to it. This is only the first part of the sadhana, which enables the mind to gravitate to a Rajasic (vitality) frame of mind (second stage) and then on to a Sattvic (pure) frame of mind (third stage). It is always the diligence and discipline which leads us.

In various tales from India and China, monkey mythology plays a very important role. The monkey is originally portrayed as foolish, vain and mischievous. Yet in each tradition the monkey learns valuable lessons along the way, makes changes and eventually gains redemption. The monkey represents the themes of repentance, responsibility, devotion, and the promise of salvation for the seeker.

Ending on a note of high optimism, we can see how our monkey mind can be transformed through sadhana.

Aim Hrim Klim

Photo by su fu on Unsplash

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