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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Taming the Monkey Mind: Days 1 & 2

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These first two meditations were simple. In theory. Each one was 20 minutes of focusing on the breath. In practice, not so simple.

I came to a realization. I know that trying to tame my monkey mind through force will backfire, for that primate is stronger than me. I knew that the way to teach it was through patience and practice, but today it finally clicked what that really means.

I have been approaching my mind like I was training a 7 month old puppy to sit. With a dog of that age, there are expectations which lead to frustration when to the dog does not obey. “Don’t you get this already?” you want to scream at the dog.

I realized instead that I need to approach my mind as though I was training a 7 week old puppy to sit. At that age, it would be foolish to have expectations of the dog being able to hold a position for long. Rather, you gently push the puppy’s back end down repeatedly. Patiently. There is no frustration when it gets up and happily waddles over to you. After all, it is a puppy, what can you expect. With good humor, you simply place it back in position. Of course, over time, this young puppy will be able to stay in position for longer and longer periods until it is habit.

English: A puppy with a Kong Wubba, a Kong pro...
Image via Wikipedia

I am going to hold that image in my mind, placing my focus back on my breath as though I was placing a young puppy back in place.  Hopefully, one day my mind can learn to sit still too.

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14 thoughts on “Taming the Monkey Mind: Days 1 & 2

  1. I, too, have restarted my meditation practice recently and just got the Deepak Chopra Center’s 21 day Mediation Challenge mp3 from amazon. The draw for me was the guy (davidji) who voices most of these guided meditations (and the mp3 was maybe $11). The second day’s meditation is called “Do you have thoughts?” and specifically talks about our thoughts as chattering monkeys. He makes the point that we humans have a thought every 1.2 seconds and you really can’t stop the thoughts. You (and your meditation) are the stillness *between* the thoughts. I found this very comforting. The struggle, of course, is to gently bring yourself forward from the past or back from the future to simply be in the moment. Davidji has another set of guided meditations that I like; his voice is very deep and soothing. Thanks very much for this blog; you can’t know how much it means to be in the midst of the crap of probable divorce and then read your blog. You give me hope and validation.

  2. Hi stilllearning2b, Saw your comment & link on huffpost today. Thought it interesting so I read more here. Anyway don’t become discouraged…..cliche as it is ..every journey begins with the first step(s). It gets easier (and addictive in my case). Persist and you will find your way. Teachers, books, etc may act as guides when direction is required but in the end it will be Your way, no other’s. Your life will become less harsh as a result of your effort.
    I wish you the best and intend to follow your progress in the coming days.

      1. Interesting that you call this the monkey mind miatedtion podcast. When I did study Tai Chi for about 10 months, the guy I was working out with (one of my fellow teachers at City, Inc) mentioned the monkey mind aspect and how it related to people, especially the students we were dealing with. When you mentioned the title, that brought me back to that discussion. Are you allowed any type of music when you meditate, or is that frowned on?

      2. Week 1 has passed and I see you are still with it. Carry on.
        During this past week your encouragement through practice has effected my course, I see that living in a Western Culture brings, with it, its own challenge that requires much undoing. An Eastern Culture I see as not having this prerequisite, then again how can I know for certain.

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