When I first heard the term “Monkey Mind,” I was pretty sure I knew what it meant and that it applied to me. Here is one definition, from pocketmindfulness.com:
Consider that we humans have around fifty thousand separate thoughts each day, many of them on the same topic. You might imagine that each thought is a branch, and you, or at least the attention of your conscious mind, is indeed a monkey, swinging from thought-branch to thought-branch all day long.
It’s no accident that the definition I chose is from “Pocket Mindfulness.” Its web address implies it would be a short definition, not requiring much time or attention. That is the hallmark of monkey mind behavior: trying to accomplish too much in a short time, seldom sitting still, seldom giving a thought or feeling its due.
The next time you are in a waiting room, look around and you’ll see that nearly everyone is looking at a cell phone. It seems that most of us are incapable of being with our own thoughts. Adam Conover (of Adam Ruins Everything) posted a video years ago about the difficulties of doing nothing for three minutes. I often think of Adam’s video when I am sitting still, twitching while thinking of the next thing to do. My thoughts swing monkey-like from branch to branch.
As readers of this blog know, my friend Amy diedhttp://alexisrankinpopik.com/remembering-amy/ in May. She didn’t expect she would not have a normal life span and neither did all of us she left behind. It got me thinking—am I going to spend the rest of my life keeping my house tidy and the laundry folded? Jumping from project to project that doesn’t really come to much? I have a plan. It’s a modest plan but no harm in trying. I am going to (1) set aside time during which I can’t be interrupted; (2) read more fiction; (3) watch less cable news;(4) spend more time with my family and friends (5) finish that short story I keep putting aside.
To quote Robert Reich—“What do you think?” I truly want to know.