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Do You Have a Drunken Monkey Mind?

Meditation takes awareness and a willingness to keep going. The good news is that it is not possible to fail! As you continue, it will begin to feel more natural and cool things will start to happen. Being still happens in a moment, but it may take some time before that moment comes. Remember, it is a great gift to yourself!

In other words, meditation is a letting go of resistance, of whatever may arise: doubt, worry, feelings of inadequacy, the endless dramas and desires. Every time you find your mind is drifting, daydreaming, remembering the past or planning the future, just come back to now, come back to this moment. In meditation, paying attention is both the key and the practice. To be with what is; nothing else is going on.

One way to become more focused is to label the thoughts. If you drift off into thinking, silently repeat: thinking, thinking. Ed likes to repeat monkey mind, monkey mind, when meaningless thoughts appear. If you get distracted, simply label it distraction, distraction. You can also see thoughts like clouds in the sky, just moving through the sky without stopping, or like birds and watch them fly away. Everything comes and goes, nothing stays, no matter how strong or insistent the thought or feeling may be. There is no need to struggle; meditation is really your best friend.

Breath Awareness Meditation

Sit comfortably with a straight back so you can breathe easily and freely. Hands are resting in your lap. Eyes are closed or lowered. Take a deep breath and let it go.

Now simply focus on the natural in and out flow of your breathe without trying to change it in any way. Let your breathing be normal and relaxed; your attention still and focused.

If you find you are getting distracted or caught up in thinking, simply label your thoughts as “distraction” or “thinking,” and let them go, or see them as birds in the sky and let them fly away. Do your best to do this for at least ten minutes. Just breathing and being.

When you are ready, take a deep breath. Gently open your eyes.

Is your mind like a drunken monkey? How do you find quiet? Do comment below.

Related:
8 Morning Activities to Keep You Present All Day
7 Reasons It’s Hard to Meditate
8 Ways Meditation Can Change Your Life

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Ed and Deb Shapiro

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: EdandDebShapiro.com

117 comments

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2:22AM PDT on May 13, 2012

A buddhist monk in Wimbledon taught me this in 2004 and then that was reinforced by a hypnotist a couple years later.
I can now go off into meditation in noisy places

4:06PM PDT on May 11, 2012

Brilliant :) I have this trouble at night when I'm trying to sleep. I'll be counting my breaths from now on :)

12:20PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

xx

6:42AM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

Yes ... I find the biggest challenge the sticking to it until the monkey is tamed - just seem to get there and then take a break from practice and, what do you know, there's that monkey back in my mind!

7:41PM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

Interesting.

7:26AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Thanks. Great article!

1:36AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

I tend to distract my drunken monkey with counting things, maybe I can try to make it count breaths and then just concentrate on the breathing... I shall give it a go!

7:58PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

stressed nursing student....I think the drunken monkey took my mind.....This too shall pass....I hope

6:07PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

my minds the same, monkey minds as they say. Im so stressed i cant focus clearly or think on anything, or see the wood for the trees most of the time. It drives me mad. Its cos i cant relax, i cant even relax to practice meditating. Hell!

1:44PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

My mind is not like a drunken monkey, it's more like a over-stressed monkey trying to get drunk in New Year's Eve before the end of the world.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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