While sharing brunch with another couple, and the gentleman made a Buddha reference when he said that he can’t meditate because he has a monkey mind. This term references one’s inability to quiet their thoughts when meditating because their mind jumps around from one thought to another like a monkey in the jungle, leaping from branch to branch and tree to tree. Some people believe they can’t meditate because they have difficulty quieting their mind. This is simply untrue. With patience, persistence, and the right approach, everyone can experience the benefits of being mindful through meditation.
When you go into the space of nothingness, everything becomes known.
— Gautama Buddha
The ego has the ability to create false thoughts—the inner chatter we hear most often. Many people approach meditation by clearing their mind and stopping their thoughts. Instead, you can simply practice focusing your attention on one thing, and when your mind wanders, refocus and continue. When thoughts or feelings arise, stay with them for a moment, honor them, release them, and return to your mindful focus. This appeases the ego’s need to be included without letting it become overly disruptive. Over time, these “interruptions” will decrease and fade away.
If you find those random thoughts are getting in the way and making it difficult to focus during your meditation, then don’t take on too much at once. Use a mantra or visualization technique to occupy and focus your thoughts. Also, limit the amount of time you meditate to ten minutes per session. This will greatly increase your success rate. The longer you meditate, the more likely it is that your focus will drift or jump around like that monkey. Do the ten-minute routine for two weeks straight. You’ll see how it increases your results. Don’t rush it; when you’re ready, increase the dedicated time by five minutes. With a little patience, you will get to where you want to be. After all, on the first day of training for a marathon, you wouldn’t begin by running a marathon. You would start out slowly by perhaps running a mile or so and building up your stamina from there.
Here is an approach that can make a significant difference and also trick the ego into feeling included—journaling. Prior to meditating, grab a notebook and a pen or pencil. Write down every random thought that comes to mind. Release your stream of consciousness prior to meditating. Don’t concern yourself with making sentences, spelling correctly, or even if it truly makes any sense. Just jot it all down. When your mental jettison is complete, write one last thing: “We are done. We are ready to meditate.” We represents the inclusion of you and the ego. In the process of journaling, you will tire out the ego and all of its distractive chatter.
The Journey of Truth:
Chronicles of a Peaceful Warrior
by Tony R. Zonca