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Can I fight monkey mind?

Been into meditation a year and a half now but only recently have I really tried being mindful with my normal activities. It is hard. I find it tricky because I start thinking that Im repressing what Im feeling(normally frustration) by focusing on my breath. So I start arguing with myself over what to focus on and telling myself im doing it wrong this then only makes me more frustrated. I normally just end up letting my monkey mind win and giving up. I don't normally have to deal with frustration when I'm sitting.

Comments

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    From my own understanding of what mindfulness 'practice' is, I don't think you're supposed to do anything but pay attention to stuff going on around you. There is no focusing on breath or anything else. You're not supposed to stop living your life, just going on about your business, but pay attention to the sounds or anything else that pops up.

    I've given the for-instance of hearing dogs barking in the neighborhood or kids playing or bird sounds, even just the traffic going by and there's a train I can hear off in the distance a bit, and when I hear them, I just listen. It sounds like you're getting this breath thing from some sort of meditation, which seems to be rather common method of bringing one's self back to not thinking about anything in particular.

    Walkermmo
  • I think along the same lines as @silver on this.

    When you wash dishes, pay attention to the actual task of washing dishes. Notice the way the detergent and water act on the dishes, notice the temperature of the water, etc. Pay attention to what your senses are telling you, and try not to let your mind wander. Which it will do, if it's anything like mine. When it does wander, bring it back to what you're currently doing.

    Breath awareness is good practice when you are in sitting meditation. It's something to focus on. You don't need an anchor to focus on when you're doing something. The act itself is the anchor.

    dhammachickSwaroop
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited December 2015

    "What you are running from does not exist...
    and what you are running to, is already here...
    who you think you are does not exist...
    who you are is already here...
    end of story..."

    ~~ Gangaji

  • "From the point of view of ignorance,
    the 'person' is what we are
    and 'meditation' is something we do from time to time.

    From the point of view of understanding,
    'meditation' is what we are
    and the 'person' is something we do from time to time.

    Meditation is not something that we do.
    Whether we know it or not, it is what we are."

    Rupert Spira, Transparency of Things

    pegembaraNirvanasilver
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    Been into meditation a year and a half now but only recently have I really tried being mindful with my normal activities. It is hard. I find it tricky because I start thinking that Im repressing what Im feeling(normally frustration) by focusing on my breath. So I start arguing with myself over what to focus on and telling myself im doing it wrong this then only makes me more frustrated. I normally just end up letting my monkey mind win and giving up. I don't normally have to deal with frustration when I'm sitting.

    I used to get annoyed when I tried to meditate and people would disturb me or the lawn mower started next door.
    Then I realised it wasn't the sounds that were the problem, it was my relationship to the sounds that caused the problem.
    Now I can meditate in a crowded train station. Because I don't resist what's going on in that moment.

    Like federica said. You are not separate from your thoughts. They arise and fall, belief or attention may or may not go to thought.
    You have no control over this, thinking you do have control is why you suffer when you apparently get lost in thought.
    You are never truly lost. You are absolutely perfect just the way you are.
    You don't have to control the monkey, because you can't :)
    It is you. And so is everything else.
    Metta

    silverStraight_Mansovammo
  • howhow Veteran
    edited December 2015

    @Mingle

    Your awareness of your breathing needs only to be shared with what ever arises, whether this is in formal sitting meditation or in the activities of daily life.
    The only thing that supports a battle between ignorance and enlightenment is the adversarial nature of our own identity's dream. Here, it's only that dream that needs to be awoken from.

    The Goldilocks principle of breath awareness and meditation applies here.

    Too much focus on your breathing is the stifling of your other sense gate input.
    Too little focus on your breathing allows our more conditioned behaviors to manipulate our sense gate information.

    Here, the practice **is **to balance your breathing focus between these two extremes , in whatever way best allows the data flow of all of our sense gates to be free from our conditioned impulses to control them.

    Jeffreysova
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    You lost me at "fight." Nothing in mindfulness should be a fight :) It is just recognizing what is, right now, without judging it and without creating stories about it. It's just being aware and letting go of the rest. Bring yourself back to the moment just like you return to the breath in seated meditation.

    sovaNirvana
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited December 2015

    @Mingle said:
    I don't normally have to deal with frustration when I'm sitting.

    Bravo. <3

    Formal practice is often 'ideal conditions' mindfulness.

    Monkey Mind has more tools of distraction during everyday being.

    You need to relax the frustration, rather than tighten/fight it.

    Give enough to monkey, allow a relaxed breath and monkey drops the grip. Don't grab and tighten on the breath. Relax on it. Remember the ideal practice.

    Everything is fine.

    ... Monkey/me off to breath formally for a while ... ;)

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited December 2015

    "When you try to stop activity by passivity
    your very effort fills you with activity."
    ~The Third Patriarch of Zen, Hsin Hsin Ming by Seng-T'san

    Some to me here he is saying something like "The idea that one should fight with monkey mind, is an idea that comes from monkey mind to begin with!" LOL

    "Everyday practice" has a heavy emphasis in zen. The common practice of what to focus on when you are doing an activity, is the activity itself. If you are cooking, your attention is on the act of cooking. Then, monkey mind will pull your attention away from cooking onto some other nonsense. When you noticed that has happened, you return your attention to the act of cooking.

    That is the traditional practice taught by most all zen masters. I doubt they would be teaching it if there was some negative repression type effect. It's really just a calming of the stuff that causes frustration so that the repressed stuff can be dealt with appropriately, not a repression of them.

    You can't exactly deal with all the repressed stuff appropriately when you are currently all frustrated. You need to calm down first before you can really understand that stuff. After you calm down, then you can reflect on that stuff and investigate why and how you became frustrated to begin with.

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited December 2015

    You can fight it but my money is on the monkey.

    If you train the monkey and show compassion, perhaps it can work to your favour and be somewhat calm during meditation practice.

    silverSwaroop
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran

    Some people, myself included, do not like these "monkey mind" terms, as they tend to suggest something either negative or even plain mischievous.

    Rather, the more playfully descriptive term of "puppy mind" has often been suggested instead. The puppy just (rather affectionately) goes from one plaything (or thought) to another until it reaches a point wherein it may settle down for a spell...

    The healthy mind is not really out of control like some chased monkey. Just relax; nothing HAS TO happen, and probably nothing will most of the time for most people. For me, the puppy mind paradigm is one connected with warmth and feeling, whereas the monkey mind concept sees consciousness in more detached terms: terms not unlike those of a psychiatrist, who is concerned about treating the patient's anxiety only (but not the whole person).

    May I commend this somewhat different nuance? It works for me, since I can embrace a puppy and feel the love and the trust.

    silverlobsterVastmind
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Ahh! Replace the monkey mind with a puppy mind! That is truly clever.

    lobsterEarthninja
  • No, you cannot fight monkey mind and hope to win. Your best bet would be to focus on something like the breath and ignore the monkey. If you stop paying attention to the monkey, it goes away.

    But first you need to practise some sense restraint eg. avoiding idle chatter. Resolve any mental issues eg. guilt, regret etc. If you work as a day trader, don't expect the mind to be still without training.

    The sequence is sila(morality), samadhi(tranquility) and panna(wisdom). They are all interdependent.

  • The monkey mind description is apt because of the image of a monkey swinging from branch to branch. Grabbing onto the next one as he lets go of the last one. It works for me.

    Earthninja
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    It's funny because the monkey mind is trying to control the monkey mind. XD
    Is it not?

    Shoshin
  • I would love to help, but the last time I checked, I had a human mind.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Sometimes, I am convinced there is little or no difference.

    seeker242lobstersilverVastmind
  • First time I have heard of puppy mind
    http://mindfulnessforstudents.co.uk/resources/puppy-mind/

    I like it. Who fights Puppys? Many thanks @Nirvana <3

    Vastmind
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Can't get used to puppy mind. They pee everywhere, and indiscriminately, too....

    silverVastmindNirvana
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    Plus they usually tend to want to either lead or follow.

    My monkey gets carried away sometimes but for the most part it's a good monkey doing what I pay it to do.

  • Short answer - If you fight monkey mind, monkey mind wins. Let monkey mind 'swing through the trees'. Stay with your central thought (some say prayer) let monkey mind dance, and you'll find monkey mind will settle down (or at least not bother you).

    @lobster said:
    First time I have heard of puppy mind
    http://mindfulnessforstudents.co.uk/resources/puppy-mind/

    I like it. Who fights Puppys? Many thanks @Nirvana <3

    Me likes puppies <3 <3 <3

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited December 2015

    "Can I fight monkey mind?"

    Who is asking the question ?

    In order to pacify monkey mind one has to find it/pin it down first...the search itself becomes the pacifier....

    So the simple answer in a nutshell "No" you can't fight monkey mind, but like others have already mentioned you can befriend it...

    "Darwinian man though well behaved at best is only a monkey shaved!"

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I think you have more than one to choose from....!

    WalkerVastmind
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Mingle this explains what monkey mind is all about and how to 'pacify' it :) you might also like to check out the website http://presidemeditation.com/all-videos-osg/

    lobster
  • Interesting @Shoshin

    It is time to take my monkey mind for a little walk.
    It is quite fascinating watching the little sucker bouncing about. :3
    But, of course, I Have the leash. B)
    Naturally, mm can be a little feisty. ;)

    Seriously, nice little video

    Peace to all

    Shoshin
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    Monkey mind doesn't actually exist...

    It's just thoughts, arising. No different to any other experience arising.
    Meaning is given to it, we call it "my monkey mind"
    But that's still just thoughts.
    The brains best survival tool is the belief in personal autonomy.
    We believe we are the authors of our lives.
    But there is no author.
    How can we not even control our own. Mind? It's obvious. There is k'op controller.
    The controller is thoughts.

    Somehow a few brains wake up to this illusion, most do not.

  • @Earthninja said:
    Monkey mind doesn't actually exist...

    It's just thoughts, arising. No different to any other experience arising.
    Meaning is given to it, we call it "my monkey mind"
    But that's still just thoughts.
    The brains best survival tool is the belief in personal autonomy.
    We believe we are the authors of our lives.
    But there is no author.
    How can we not even control our own. Mind? It's obvious. There is k'op controller.
    The controller is thoughts.

    Somehow a few brains wake up to this illusion, most do not.

    Ah ha! Thus the script is 'written' (or not).

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I have just spent the last two months selling a property and buying a new one. Monkey mind has been rampant!

    Did we get enough for our house? Maybe we should have held out for more money? Did the real estate agent rip us off? Did we buy a new place too quickly? Did we pay too much? Will.the neighbours be ok? Is the property big enough? Did the real estate agent rip us off?

    Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

    silverShoshinWalkerCinorjer
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

    Mingle
  • @Shoshin said:
    Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

    Aaaaaaahh lol

  • Mr. Mirror Head

    So Mr. Mirror Head went to a therapist because his mirror head became too full of reflections. The therapist said: "I see what you mean. We need to try to peel each of those reflections off of your clear glass. We'll start with the ones from your childhood and continue from there until we manage to peel off all the reflections. It will take years." Mr. Mirror Head said "But what about all the new reflections that appear daily and in the future?" The therapist responded,
    "That's not my job, I only work with the older ones, that's the best I can do!"

    Not satisfied Mr. Mirror Head went to visit a Buddhist teacher of the gradual school. After initial discussions the teacher advised, "Yes we need to purify and clean off all those dirty reflections. We have hundreds of practices to teach you and fancy little rituals that can assist your mirror cleaning and renovation project. You may even make good progress before you die! Sound good?"

    Again not satisfied, Mr. Mirror Head went to a Dzogchen master who was of the "instantaneous" school of realization.
    After preliminary discussions the Dzogchen master offers this advice, "Indeed your mirror is thoroughly covered by vast numbers of reflections; too many to count! But have you noticed how transparent and thin they are upon direct inspection? But more importantly have you noticed the transparent and crystal clear nature of your mirror-like awareness in which all the reflections are appearing?
    If you bring your attention fully upon your own qualities of transparent, glass-like awareness, the reflections will become transparent too! They will no longer appear on the surface of your mirror-like awareness and their being a burden will be relieved instantly."

    Suddenly as if awakening from a dream, Mr. Mirror Head noticed the perfection of his own mirror mind for the first time and realized it never needed cleaning or correctional repair. He could rest right there.

    When in the future when too many reflections became like a sticky film, he just recognized his own perfectly pure nature again by retracting his attention from the reflections to his own space of knowing awareness in which the reflections appeared and now suddenly disappeared.

    Thoroughly satisfied, Mr. Mirror Head thanked the teacher and went on his way, clear headed, happy and suddenly free...

    silverShoshinCinorjer
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    It's a cool story, @Jeffrey, but sounds a little - no a lot too good to be true - I don't feel it could work that well for the average suffering human being. Like me! :3

  • Monkey mind is just unwanted thoughts. Just like uninvited guests, they will leave on their own if you dont play host to them.

    silver
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited December 2015

    @silver:

    "Whether you think you can,
    Or whether you think you can't -
    You're right."

    Henry Ford.

    silver
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Now, you're all just making it sound too easy! :) :(

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    It's simple.
    Which doesn't necessarily mean 'easy'.

  • Sometimes the easiest things are so darn hard! :3 <3

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "Can I fight monkey mind?"

    "In the red corner we have the reigning chimpion...And in the blue corner we also have the reigning chimpion "....go figure :winky:

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