Monkey Mind

Richard JelusichBlog

This is the information age, and the rapidity by which information is accumulated and disseminated is mind-boggling!   There is so much at our fingertips, and we are bombarded by social media, advertisers and the pace of our lives.  How do we catch up to keep all this information present in our minds?  How do we remember our heart-center and move through this life with an inner peacefulness?

AI ((Artificial Intelligence) is quickly influencing every aspect, every facet of our lives.  It can seem we are daunted by the specter of something so big that there is a shadow of unawareness, or it can seem like amazing vistas of our awareness are dawning in this era, offering opportunities for self-empowerment and living more meaningful and purposeful lives.  A very dear friend of mine who is an amazing inventor and technological wizard said: “AI is a billion times smarter than I am!”  He said he felt humbled by AI.

Tell me again, who invented AI?  From where did it incept?  Oh yes, the minds of you and I.

Monkey Mind is a reference to holding too much information in the mind at once; too many invading thoughts seeming to take priority at the same time, while feeling the demands of life unrelenting.  Some researchers call it “Popcorn Brain,” a mental state where a person’s attention is fragmented, their thoughts are scattered, and they quickly switch between topics. The term was coined in 2011 by David Levy (Forbes), a researcher at the University of Washington, to describe how thoughts can transition rapidly from one topic to another, similar to popcorn kernels popping.

In The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche, he describes how his meditation students come to him so concerned that they are not meditating.  His response was that the sun has rays and the ocean has waves; it’s just like the mind to think.  But just as the waves upon the ocean have very little affect upon the depth of the ocean, so also can you sink down below the waves of your thoughts into the deeper ocean of your mind!

The cool thing is that the deep ocean of our mind is always available to us!  We’ve only to access what we already are.  And, if worry about the expansiveness of AI means that it “knows” more than you do, how is AI or any knowledge or awareness greater than you are if we truly live in oneness?  It is not whether the ocean of mind and awareness exists, it is whether we access it.

We are living in an age where we, en masse, can transcend everyday worries and use these tools to further not only empower ourselves, but ascend to higher states of awareness, not limited solely by intellect but fueled by the heart!  That is, we have the opportunity to continue to advance our cultures’ quality of life and harmony by persisting more into the oceanic depths of our minds, beyond thinking.

Thinking is a product of the mind.  You are not your thoughts; you think your thoughts.  Taming the mind, as some Tibetan Yogis have said in “The Yogis of Tibet” is initially like trying to tame a raging elephant.  Over time, with persistence, we do.

There are several ways to change from “Monkey Mind” to “Monk” where the mind is quieted, and deeper states revealed. One of the best cures for monkey mind is mindfulness, paying full and sole attention to the task at hand.  Some of us are true multitaskers, but when it is overwhelming it is better to use your will to remain fully focused.

Here is one of those exercises:

Pattern Interrupt

(do this first in meditation, then apply in your daily activities)


Close your eyes and breathe purposefully slowly as though your lungs extend down to your belt line.

Imagine you are in a daily activity and some random thoughts begin to invade, taking you off task.

With the power of your will, deliberately interrupt the thought with an act of self-empowerment like: “I am a spirit of infinite potential!” or “I am in my power!” or something that empowers you.

Breathe into this feeling for a few moments.

When you feel complete, open your eyes.

Meditation complete

What is really happening?  You are using the power of your will to interrupt the energy of the invading thought(s).  Though it may not seem effective, what you just did is to change the energy as all thoughts are energy from the mind.  Every time you do this, you are a little stronger, a little more focused and victorious over your thoughts and monkey mind, more heart-centered, peaceful and self-empowered.


Dr. Richard Jelusich, Ph.D.