Taming the Monkey Mind: Taking the Monkey for a Ride
My monkey mind has been unruly of late. It’s been delivering excuses to refrain from sitting quietly faster than McDonald’s serves up burgers. And the excuses are about as palatable.
I could list those excuses, rationalize away my lack of mindfulness. But what’s the point? It’s just noise. Distraction.
I have two friends, sisters, who lost their mother many years ago. Ever since, they have chosen to make Mother’s Day a day of celebrating life. Their venue of choice? Amusement parks. I have been lucky enough to have been included in the tradition.
Every Mother’s Day finds us at the gates of some purveyor of adrenaline – laced fun. Sometimes we stay local, sometimes we travel. Regardless, the goal is the same – a day of riding as many coasters as possible while engaging in great food and better company.
Boy, did I ever need that yesterday.
The coasters forced my monkey into submission. I had no choice but to accept the experience. No choice but to let go. No choice but to be in the moment and enjoy the ride. With my eyes closed, there was no anticipation, just experience.
With each new coaster, I could feel the tension draining from my shoulders and clarity slowly replacing my muddied brain. My breath deepened and my posture straightened. I felt refreshed and relaxed.
For weeks now, meditation has been a chore, something I have to force myself to do. But this morning, my mat is calling to me, inviting. I want to sit. I want to breathe. I want to be.
Sometimes my monkey mind protests too much stillness and too much routine. He needs to feel the air rushing past his face and hear the joyful screams and laughter bursting forth, unrestrained. He needs to have his untamed side acknowledged and celebrated. He needs to let go with no thought of decorum or restraint (well, other than the ones that keep me from falling 200 feet to the ground!).
Sometimes the monkey just needs to ride. Maybe next year I’ll bring my meditation mat and some incense to the park:)