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The Sandbox Writing Challenge — Exercise 3

What is it that keeps you from being still?

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This challenge is SO easy for me. The fact is, I just plain have Monkey Mind! What IS Monkey Mind, you may ask… (Seriously! There’s a definition for this!)

Mind monkey or monkey mind, from Chinese xinyuan and Sino-Japanese shin’en 心猿 [lit. “heart-/mind-monkey”], is a Buddhist term meaning “unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable”. (Wikipedia)

Anyone who knows me (even a little) will absolutely confirm that’s a perfect description of how my mind works. It just is never still. It’s as if the “off” switch is broken. It makes it truly difficult for me to focus on one thing at a time. I get distracted very easily.

It doesn’t help to know what the underlying causes of my daily dance with Monkey Mind are. Stresses, worries, fears, busy-ness, boredom… Even when I finally get in bed at night it is never quiet.

I read a great blog post about this at Pocket Mindfulness. The writer compares it to a Monkey swinging from branch to branch of thoughts. DO go have a read if you’re one of us who can’t seem to find stillness.

This, I believe also, is the main reason I have so much trouble living in the moment. I spend too much time ruminating on the past and worrying about the future that I don’t have time to be fully present. At least not often. I HAVE found that if I have some ambient noise going on when I sleep (ocean waves or thunder sounds usually), sometimes my mind will react like a child who lies down with her thumb in her mouth and gets quiet. I use Alexa for that almost every night now. Meditation helps at times. I know one thing for sure. It wears me out!

One other thing I’ve been practicing lately is trying to be fully present when I put my eye drops in at night. I have the beginnings of glaucoma, so I get to use two kinds of eye drops before bed every night. Takes ten minutes for this little routine, and I’m just lying there paying attention to the sounds around me and how I feel. Of course that damn little Monkey runs back and forth across my forehead every two seconds. I have to keep swishing him away. But I’m getting better at it.

So tell me… Does anyone else out there have Monkey Mind? If so, what do you do when you want to be “still?”

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Picture Sources:
Woman — The TOTAL Concept, All Parts of Me
In Bed — confident parents confident kids
Monkey Tablet — Horizon Psytech & Games