Yes, it can be done.
In my book, Reclaim Your Wild, I take you on a 30 day Walk About Yoga Journey back to your authentic self. With the help of yoga poses, journal prompts, and active adventures.
I have put together several ways to tame those wild monkeys! With the help of Deepak Chopra and Marelisa Fabrega, I have put together several ways to tame those wild monkeys!
Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong. Anger, unresolved conflicts, self doubt , climate change, animal cruelty and to do lists are some of the additional worries my monkeys shout about.
Guess what, it is your circus and they are your monkeys!
The good news is we can tame them and by doing so you'll gain many amazing benefits.
Here are 10 realistic ways to get control of your monkeys 🐵
1. Know that Your Monkey Mind Can Be Tamed. The first step in your quest to calm your monkey mind is to know that it’s possible to do so. It’s very likely that up until this point you’ve allowed your monkey mind to run wild. But now you’re going to put an end to that. After all, your thoughts don’t rule you. You rule your thoughts.
2. Have no expectations. Sometimes the mind is too active to settle down. Sometimes it settles down immediately. Sometimes it goes quiet, but the person doesn't notice. Anything can happen. That is part of the journey.
3. Talk to Your Monkey Mind. When your monkey mind is in full swing, calm it down by having a conversation with it. Stop for a moment and listen to what your monkey mind is saying. Why is it upset? What’s all the raucous about? Then, do the following:
3. Establish a Journaling Practice. This is similar to the point above, but it’s more deliberate. By establishing a regular journaling practice, you’ll be setting aside a window of time each day specifically to address your monkey mind’s concerns. Do the following:
Tell your monkey mind the following: “Your session for today is over. Wait until tomorrow’s session. I’ll listen to you then.” Soon, your monkey mind will realize that it’s completely futile to make a fuss at any time other than during your journaling sessions.
4. Be easy on yourself.
Meditation isn't about getting it right or wrong. It's about letting your mind find its true nature.
5. Practice the A-B-C Technique. A lot of the time, monkey mind is caused by your thoughts disagreeing with what’s going on. That is, there’s a contrast between your thoughts and your surroundings. When the present moment doesn’t align with what your monkey mind wants, your monkey mind begins to spit and howl.
The A-B-C technique can help you deal with the disparity between what your monkey mind thinks should be happening, and what is actually happening. Here’s how it works:
6. Don't label or plan. The Spanish abstract artist Pablo Picasso once said the following: “If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.” Although that’s a rather grotesque image, pause for a moment and reflect on the quote’s meaning.
What Picasso is saying is that you should simply allow your senses to take in what’s going around you, and then stop. Skip the step in which your monkey mind jumps in and starts judging, critiquing, and assigning meaning. Once you start doing this on a regular basis, you’ll notice that you begin to see things more clearly. In addition, you’ll be able to see much more than you did before.
7. Recite a Mantra. Interrupt your monkey mind mid-sentence and distract it by reciting a mantra. When you recite a mantra you draw in your scattered attention and focus it on a word, phrase, or sound. Make it positive, self-affirming, and loving. A mantra that I like to use is “ Om Shanti Shanti Om” Peace, Peace Peace. (feel free to use whatever mantra you want).
Although you can recite your mantra silently, it’s more effective if you say it out loud. That way, you’re also listening to the word, phrase, or sound, and you are sending it out to the universe!
In addition, by repeating a positive phrase–either to yourself or out loud–you’ll be listening to something positive, instead of listening to the negativity being spewed by your monkey mind.
8. Play a Game of Fives Senses. That first second when the monkeys start their monkey songs, you’ll know that it’s very likely that your mind has wandered off and that it’s no longer in the present moment. You can get the tribe of monkeys in your mind to quiet down by bringing your mind back to the present.
One way to bring your mind back to the present is by playing the Game of Fives Senses. Pause your train of thought and notice five things in your environment. It can be five things you see, hear, or smell. Then, fully experience the sight, sound, or smell. You can do this by pretending that it’s the first time you’ve ever experienced that sight, sound, or smell, and by adopting a sense of awe.
The moment in which you do this all of your attention will be placed on the present moment, and your monkey mind will be silenced.
9. Engage Your Mind. I’m sure that you’ve experienced moments when your mind was completely still. Perhaps you were so involved in a book, or in a movie, or in your writing, that the monkey mind went silent. You just experienced directly what was going on, without your mind chatter giving you a running commentary of events, as they occurred.
This is because one way to silence your monkey mind is by engaging your mind. The next time your monkey mind is driving you nuts, look for an activity that draws you in completely, so that all of your attention is placed on what you’re doing, and there’s no attention left over to listen to the monkey mind.
10. Try Piko-Piko Breathing. Piko-Piko breathing is one of the basic practices of the ancient Hawaiian Huna philosophy. “Piko” means “navel” or “center”. The technique involves doing the following: