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Freeing the Monkey Mind

Jennifer Mulholland
July 28, 2022

Busy mind, monkey mind, quiet mind. Mind, mind, mind. What is mind anyway? I've been curious and interested in this question for decades and my personal understanding has shifted considerably as I've grown. In my youth, I understood mind to be the storehouse for the brain that governs intellect, analysis, reasoning, and decision-making - the warehouse of information for western civilization and the home of our thoughts.

Today, I understand mind completely differently. After years of comitting myself to personal growth and development,  I’ve come to develop a different relationship with mind: mind with a capital “M.” Mind as in Divine Mind, the Master Mind, and the weave of all. 

Some may call it wellbeing, some may call it innate wisdom, and some may call it universal intelligence. Whatever we name it to be,  it's a force that is within me and outside of me. It's a force that makes up and connects everything and I can rely on it, unwaveringly, all the time. 

Mind with a capital "M" is personal, applicable, and reliable.  It has an impeccability to provide just the right solution to a current challenge, question, or situation at just the right time. It's where in-sight comes from and the more I rely on it, the more I am in awe of its ability to give me exactly what I need exactly when I need it. Mind is like my cell phone connected to a signal that creates a direct link of communication between myself and whomever or whatever I want to connect to. Instead of relying on an outside object for this type of connection, I can trust it exists within and it's always on. 

We've been falsely led to believe that mind is thought. It's not. Thoughts come from Mind. Thoughts emerge from Mind and we have about 50,000-70,000 of them a day! That's a lot of thinking so it's not suprising we have busy minds and monkey-minds.  The key to quieting these states of minds is to shift our relationship with our thinking. The more we attach to our thinking, the more we feed our monkey mind. The less we attach, the more we free it. 

You see, thoughts are form – meaning, whatever thought we buy, believe, and attach to, we bring into our reality. When we attach to a particular thought unknowingly or knowingly, we digest that thought as if we are eating some kind of food. When we take the thought in, our system begins to immediately digest the thought as if it is real, which then creates a feeling - a feeling that matches the vibration of the thought we've attached to. That feeling then projects a perception of a reality we experience. It is only when we digest them, believe them, and anchor them, do we feel and become them. The quality of our thinking literally determines the quality of our lives.

Have you ever gone to sleep feeling great and woken up the next day feeling like shit? Not from stress, a scary dream, or feeling sick but rather arising in a lower mood?  Yes! We all have these days at time - it's the nature of being human. If you can see this as natural as the sun that rises and sets, you can loosen your grip and observe the rise and fall of your mood without having to medicate or make it change. The most important step (and only step that is needed) is to simply become aware that you are in a lower mood.

When we are in a low mood, we tend to have lower quality thinking. When our mood is low we have a limited perception of what is possible. It's like being at the bottom of a dark where water well where vision is impaired and it's hard to see. Stories, worries, and anxieties live here and boy, do they seem real. On the flip side, when we are in a higher mood, we have higher quality thinking. It's as if we are standing on top of a mountain, able to see the the ranges, forests, and landscape with more possibility. Optimism, hope, and trust live her. They too appear to be real. 

When I find myself in a lower mood, I trust that a new thought will eventually float through without me having to do anything about it. I don't need to "cancel cancel", I don't need to replace the thought with an opposite positive, I really don't need a glass of wine, and I don't need to impart any tactics for it to change. I can trust that a new thought will come in on it's own as it always does (without me getting in the way). I can trust that at some point my mood will shift. And when it does, my thinking will change. When my thinking changes, my feelings will change. When my feelings change, my reality changes and my state of being adjusts. 

When I practice detaching from thought and not buying it's bullshit, I feel more calm, peace-filled, and connected to life. It's worth the practice and I am still practicing. Give it a try and see what happens.  If  you need some specific steps to help you quiet the monkey-mind, practice these few steps:

  • Recognize I am in thought. This simple awareness creates just enough space between my identity and my thoughts - the realization that they are not one and the same. I am not my thoughts. Thinking is happening through me. Whether it's a low-quality or high-quality thought, they will come and go and shift on their own without me having to do anything about it. 
  • Stop buying my thinking. Not all 50,000-70,000 thoughts I have a day are true. In fact, most of them are coming from patterns of the past, personal beliefs, habitual thinking, cultural conditioning, and lived experiences that are on repeat. 
  • Change my focus. When I choose a different subject to focus on, talk about, or explore, I release and forget about whatever I am grinding on. That's really helpful because whatever we focus on, we form. When I change my focus and trust the intelligence of something greater than myself (Divine Mind, Innate Nature, Wellbeing, or whatever you call it) to provide me the solution I need or a whole new insight, I get it!
  • Look for beauty. Choosing to look for beauty in your surroundings and within yourself is a game changer. Witnessing beauty changes the energetic. I find it's most easy to do when I get myself out into nature. When I do, I begin to relax, open, and fill up. I bring my presence to what surrounds me -  feeling the air upon my face, noticing the beautiful colors of the trees, and listening to the beautiful sounds of life all around. 
  • Meditation. Whether I am guiding and leading others through meditation, or being led, I settle, quiet and find myself letting go of whatever is on my mind. This has been one of the most enjoyable practices that I’ve had the privilege to participate in and lead for groups. Being still, tuning into inner space, broadening my awareness, and observing thoughts without attachment helps me loosen what grips me. 

How do you free your monkey mind?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and invite you to share and comment so we can learn and grow together.


How free is your Mind?

Changing our relationship with Mind and our thinking can help quiet the monkey mind and open you up to living a life with more peace, freedom, and wellbeing.  

Bring awareness to the relationship you have with mind, body, and spirit by taking our Lumeria Wellbeing Self-Assessment. Greater awareness leads to greater choice and greater choice leads to greater freedom! 

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