Monkey Mind & Brain Showers
Mindful Minute Up Front:
Meditation is life changing. But with crystals and blissful clouds, the marketing of it is total crap. So why meditate? What to truly expect? What do monkeys, buttholes, and showers have in common? In this post, I build a bullshit free bridge between meditation hype and reality.
Want to hear a secret? I hear voices. Judy and Pablo. Goliath, Dan and Macho Man. Everywhere I go - they stalk me. Day or night, barking and barking at me. What to say. What to do. Who to be. This mind of mine is blinding. What’s real, what’s not, who knows. Do you want to hear another secret? You’re a voice hearing maniac too!
We all hear and talk to schizophrenic voices in our head. Meet Monkey Mind, the Zen term for this little man inside that won’t shut the hell up. The common kryptonite to monkey mind is meditation. But be forewarned. Yes, meditation is life changing, but the marketing of it is total shit. With images like below of blissed out ‘Jenny the Meditator’, a grand canyon separates initial expectations AND reality.
In this post, I will build a bullshit free bridge. By the end you will be making love to monkeys in the shower. In Part 2, Mind Manifested: 7 Voices I hear Daily, I explore the actual 7 characters of my Monkey Mind. Let's go play with some monkeys.
Monkey Mind Uncaged
So what exactly is this monkey mind?
Basically a royal rumble of thoughts, moods, and desires - all inside your cranium. Each battling to be world champion - of your conscious attention. The body slams of pride and anger. The sleeper holds of doubt and fear. Thrown against the ropes by anxiety and desire. All narrated by the hyperbolic commentary of the EGO. Monkey Mind is this chaotic infighting. The mental noise that rarely stops.
Damn, I need to send that email to my boss. It’s never enough for him. And he presents my work- taking all the credit! I need a new Jo....Why won’t that dog shut the hell up? Actually, maybe I should get a puppy. I loved Lassy as a kid. Totally underrated show. When does Game of Thrones start again? Ugh, 2019? Damn you HBO! Daenerys is going to kick some ice dragon ass. Speaking of Ass, what’s Jamie up to...shit, I’m suppose to be meditating.”
Most of us mistakenly identify with this incessant chatter as “me, myself, and I”. But this is a mental mirage. We can be absorbed in TV, but are not the show. Absorbed in music, but we’re not music. Similarly, we are not the ADD thoughts of consciousness.
Natural selection chose for survival, not our mental health. The evolutionary legacy of our 2 million-year-old brain is a magical multimedia machine. But with it came imaginary roommate from hell. This is the neural wiring we are stuck with, so sorry no brain refunds allowed.
YOUR BRAIN STINKS
Our babbling brain is like brain body odor (BO). You go around stinking of BO for a long time, totally clueless, socializing away. Everyone just secretly pitying you. But once you realize your stink - a new era begins. Most of us aren’t just skunking up the subway, but every conscious experience of our lives. We’re lost in thought storms, lost in psychological time. In loops, we worry and worry. Rehearsing future scenarios. Replaying the past like a DVR of a bad TV Show. Never fully here - one foot in the time machine, one in our reality.
So fucking what? There is a better way to live my friends. How? It involves showers, monkeys, and assholes - but we will get to that.
MONKEY MIND CRASHES THE MEDITATION PARTY
Meditation is going mainstream as people drown in modern chaotic living. But people expect meditation (and retreats) to be a Hollywood makeover for their minds. I mean doesn’t Jenny look so calm? They finally try this meditation thing (again). Following their breath they expect bliss. Instead, Monkey Mind swings in hurling poop and piss.
Sadly so many people quit here. They think “I suck at meditating. My mind is too busy”. But this is not sucking, it’s winning. You caught the daydreaming monkey, collect your prize. Meditation is a process of purifying the mind.
Our modern instant gratification minds demand it now, with no pain, an extra shot of pleasure, and fat-free soy please. Like the gym, you don't show up with a beer gut expecting to be ripped like The Arnold in a week. Each time you wrestle the monkey it’s a bicep curl for your brain. So don’t quit, battle the monkeys. Better yet, make love to the monkeys!
MAKING LOVE TO MONKEYS IN THE SHOWER
Alf’s gone mad promoting metaphorical bestiality. Ok thought experiment. Consider the daily hygiene we do for our bodies. We brush our teeth, shower, floss (not really), and exercise (sometimes). Sum it up: minimum 20 minutes. And hygiene for our minds, our interface to all of reality? We learn but that’s like eating. We sleep, but that’s like recharging the battery brain. Thus, meditation is like a brain shower for our mind. A daily rejuvenating cleanse of monkey shit.
You can be the 4-year-old hating the bath OR just get out the rubber duckies and make it a party. So wake up and smell your Brain BO. Life is too short to live in monkey shit. That’s why I prefer the Dan Harris’ view of meditation (author of 10% Happier). In it, he says, “Meditation makes me less of an asshole”. So ignore Jenny, and start taking brain showers to cleanse your smelly assholeness.
CUSHION CHOICE: THE RED OR BLUE PILL?
The monkey bastards stole the soap during your brain shower ehh? This leads to a cushion choice, a la the Matrix, that likely will change your life.
Blue Pill: Go back and Believe whatever you want to Believe
Monkey Mind popped your meditation fantasy. You think, ‘I’m not good at being calm. I just can't focus. Guess I’m just not the new age meditator type. Screw this, get me out of here. This isn’t fun anyway. Doesn’t the house need to be cleaned?
Red Pill: Follow the Rabbit hole
Hmmm, what is going on here? I’m smart but with all my cognitive super powers I can’t follow my silly breath? These random thoughts keep kidnapping me. Where do they come from? I thought I was in control. This is frustrating, but where does that feeling even come from? If this is going on, what the hell else is going on that I don’t know about? What’s real? What’s illusion? What part of me - is me?
Choose wisely my friends. Meditation is a mirror on the crazy mind. This might not always pretty, but is ignorance better? With one brain shower at a time you can let the Egoic Monkeys dissolve. Your true self is your timeless awareness, the silent you. The one admiring the waterfall with no commentary, no photos, just drenching in presence.
So much of life’s shit storms and suffering are caused by this blind spot to monkey mind. When you contemplate how everybody else in the world is drowning in their ‘own monkey shit’, a floodgate of compassion arises. You laugh realizing it’s not the personal war your Ego loves to fight.
So enjoy the freedom and spending more time with the true you - not Judy, Pablo, and Macho Man. And of course, best of luck being less of a smelly asshole!