Mindfulness in Everyday Life   Proactive Mindfulness Resources

Taming the Monkey Mind

This 22-second video is a visual meditation on the reactive mind inspired by the Buddhist idea of monkey mind.

Monkey mind is a metaphor to characterize those times when our mind keeps jumping from one thing to another, just like a monkey restlessly moves from tree to tree.

The metaphor of the monkey jumping is not meant to convey a state of harmony with nature, to the contrary. In Buddhist thinking, this metaphor is meant to convey an inability to stay in the present, a chaotic ADD-like pursuit of every thought that crosses the mind. Jumping to one thought, hanging on to it for dear life, then suddenly jumping to the next thought with just as much frantic energy.

This is in contrast to the stillness of mind that is achieved by "taming the monkey mind", e.g. through meditation. However, one doesn't become something else or somebody else through meditation. In fact, through meditation, the experience of duality recedes to make room for an experience of non-duality... So, from a still mind, we may come to have a different sense of the duality between monkey mind and still mind.

See: Beyond reactive, how to develop a proactive mindset.

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