When I see clients who have racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts, I remember the children’s rhyme about the monkeys jumping on the bed.
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
So Momma called the doctor and the doctor said
No more monkeys jumping on the bed!
Those thoughts are like monkeys jumping upstairs in your mind. Your monkey mind is talking nonstop at you:
What will I do about Greta at work?
I can’t believe Rodney said that to me today..unbelievable…
What if Jill doesn’t make the soccer team? She’ll be so upset and then what if she can’t get scholarships for college?
That thing I did today was so stupid. I am so stupid! Why am I so stupid all the time?
Bounce bounce bounce. Those monkeys are making quite the ruckus. How can you quiet them so you can have some peace and quiet in your house?
Before they break something?
Maybe you’ve heard of the Buddhist term: monkey mind
Around 2,600 years ago Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha, gave us the term “monkey mind.” He described the human mind as acting like it was full of drunken monkeys!
With all those monkeys screeching for attention, it’s hard to hold one clear thought.
Buddha wanted to help people understand themselves. Among the many benefits of understanding ourselves is quieting our monkey mind.
Unfortunately, there’s no getting rid of the monkeys. We have what’s known as a symbiotic relationship with our monkeys. It’s like peonies in the garden. Peonies are often covered with ants. If you pick off the ants however, the peonies die. The ants are unsightly but the peonies can’t bloom without them.
We have to learn to live with the monkeys jumping on the bed.
Your loud monkey mind can wreak havoc with your sense of peace
If only it weren’t so hard to ignore the loud monkeys in our mind. But it is hard. Just off the top of my head I know that a busy mind can result in:
Feelings of depression
A low mood
Anxiety and anxious thoughts
Insomnia! It’s like the monkeys are jumping on your actual bed
The loudest monkey becomes the leader of the troop (official word for a group of monkeys).
Usually this monkey’s name is Fear. His best friends are worry, anxiety, and stress. They have loud bouncy demands and they will keep screeching until your nerves are frayed, you feel sick with stress, or just so anxious or blue you can’t get out of bed…
Until you notice and listen and work with them.
Unfortunately again, you can’t notice, listen, and then stuff a sock in their mouths. It just doesn’t work like that. You also can’t stuff earplugs in to sleep through the monkey parade.
Monkeys can only be silenced one way. Luckily managing your monkey mind isn’t rocket science. You probably already know how to do it, you just need some practice.
Silence your monkeys by interrupting them
To feel calmer, you need to separate yourself from the monkey chatter in your mind.
Remember the monkey momma who couldn’t stop her monkeys from jumping on the bed? Imagine if she’d run upstairs and announced “There’s cookies downstairs for a snack!”
Or, “Everybody in the car! We’re going to the beach today!”
Those monkeys would stop what they’re doing and run on downstairs to do something else, don’t you think?