Be Here Now: 3 Simple Steps to Tame the “Monkey Mind”

Monkey Forest in Tabanan-Kukuh, Bali, Indonesia, March 2018

This is a subject with which I am all too familiar.

My thoughts jump from tree to tree more times than I care to admit.

Does this sound like you, too?

Ironically enough, on a recent trip to Indonesia I visited a place called Monkey Forest with my daughters. They were interested in nothing but the primates. They were present.

Before entering the forest, we were advised not to make fists with our hands nor to make eye contact with the wild creatures as they would see this as a challenge and come after their opponent. One actually did try to come after my 6-year-old after I caught a glimpse of its eyes for probably a second too long. They were held back by the guides and a stick they use to tame and barricade the monkeys. No worries, it wasn’t a beating stick!

I digress. There were monkeys in trees, on the ground, monkeys with babies, the “boss monkey”, monkeys eating peanuts, monkeys on the roofs….monkeys everywhere! We were allowed to feed the monkeys peanuts and the more we fed them, the more they came back. Interesting.

The girls were delighted and acknowledged their presence. I thought of them proverbially.

Our thoughts are really no different than monkeys when you think about it!

But it’s the “boss monkey” thought that needs to be acknowledged first. This thought is the one that dominates all the other thoughts. It’s the one that plays most frequently in your mind. It’s often not a pleasant thought, rather a negative one. Usually, it’s language such as “can’t”, “never”, or “don’t”. And it runs a lot of our behaviours, actions, and the straight up BS we say about ourselves.

Do you know which one I’m talking about?

I’m here to tell you there’s good news! While you can’t make these ‘wild creatures’ go away, you can certainly tame them so they don’t continue to have power over you.

Here are 3 steps you can take so the monkeys don’t become the boss of you:

1. Raise your awareness. You can’t heal what you don’t acknowledge. If this thought is getting you further and further away from what you want, the first step is to be aware of it. Most of our habits, thought patterns, and negative feedback are ruled by the subconscious mind. As you become more aware of them, their power over you begins to diminish. How many times does this same thought appear in your mind on a daily basis? Weekly basis?

2. Call it out. You must do this in a space of love because fear begets fear. So, choose love instead, no matter how much you hate the thought, choose love for what it is teaching you about your spirit. Feed the nice thoughts rather than ones that zap your energy. Try the following phrases the next time an unpleasant thought is taking over:

“Thank you for what you have taught me, you are no longer needed”

“No, thanks”

“Scram!”

3. Take a deep breath. Better yet, take 5. You did good, kid. The simple act of conscious breathing helps us return to the present moment. Retraining the mind to move into healthier, lighter thought patterns requires practice. Remain connected with why you want to change these thoughts in the first place and you make yourself the boss. Not the monkey.

Trust me, you get better and better at it with practice!

Our minds are like gorgeous flourishing forests, teeming with experience and possibility. Tend to that forest, water it, keep it healthy. Notice it’s inhabitants- the monkeys- your thoughts. Keep the boss monkey at bay by tuning into your breath. And most of all don’t forget to be kind to yourself. After all, YOU are the boss of your life!

 

If you’d like to learn more about how to take control of your life and live with more ease, joy, and freedom, check out this retreat I am hosting coming up May 18-20, 2018!

Written by Kendra Irvine