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Taming Monkey Mind

We all seem to suffer from monkey mind from time to time.

Monkey mind is the endless chatter that seems to be continuously running through our minds at any given point in time. Many claim monkey mind is a hindrance to them when engaging in spiritual practice, such as meditation, prayer, or other activities aimed at connecting with a Higher Power or even their own soul.

The problem is, if we desire a connection to Spirit, if we desire to enhance our spiritual gifts, our own innate wisdom or intuitive abilities, even if we desire to be of service in almost any way to the world of Spirit, a regular spiritual practice is a must.

When I teach almost any spiritual classes, such as psychic development, mediumship, energy healing, even Tarot, I always insist on a regular meditation practice in order to expect any kind of development of skill or abilities. I always assign homework, and the homework almost always consists of a consistent spiritual practice of some kind, including but not limited to meditation and connecting with Spirit and the soul. Even some of my private clients are assigned homework, and this is normally one of the assignments. Establish some sort of regular spiritual practice.

When following up with my clients or students, I often hear this complaint.

I can't make my mind stop chattering.

Monkey mind.

Believe it or not, meditation is not attempting to stop our mind from chattering, as many erroneously believe. Meditation is developing our mental muscles to the point of being able to focus and hold our attention on a specific thing for longer than a couple of seconds. The monkey mind sometimes runs in the background, but it is not distracting us to the point of losing our focus. It is kind of like when a television is running in background, but we are focused on a task at hand to the point where we do not hear or see what is happening on the television.

The problem is often that we allow our attention to be diverted to the monkey mind rather than allowing it to play in the background.

So how do we combat this?

The first thing is not to try to battle or fight against it! Anything we focus on grows. Beating ourselves up because we allowed ourselves to get distracted is not productive. Just recognize and acknowledge monkey mind, perhaps write a note about what we may have deemed important enough to distract us, go check the stove and make sure it is off and the water is not running, and get back to it!

Our minds are not our enemies!

Our mental assistant is simply reminding us of things we may have forgotten, and meditation has provided an opening for a reminder to pop into our heads.

Here are some suggestions for giving our minds something to do while we are meditating!

The most common suggestion is to focus on our breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat.

By focusing on our breath we are drawing our attention to something that we normally do mindlessly without awareness. Our bodies are able to function without our having to tell our lungs to breathe, our heart to beat, our nerves to feel. However, if we begin to place our awareness on those things, our minds begin to slow down. Our awareness increases.

If our minds need a little something more, you can add counting. One, two, three, four, breathe in, one, two, three, four, breathe out. Some add: one, two, three, four in between the breathing in and the breathing out. This is called the four-fold breath.

You can add things like focusing on the feeling of love, or joy, or peace. You can send your awareness down to Mother Earth, up to Father Sky or the Creator of All That Is, or out into nature, or in to the internal functions of your body. Listen to your heart beat. Imagine the blood running through your veins. Send love to all the parts of your body and thank them for functioning without any awareness on your part.

Many belief systems like to add chanting or repeating mantras. You can choose a favorite mantra, like "I am connected to the energy of Love" or "I am aligned to my highest good".

One of my favorite chants is "Om mani padmi hum." There are countless other ones you can research on the internet or create one of your own.

Don't beat yourself up if you sit down to meditate and spend the whole time creating a grocery list or reliving a conversation that bothered you. Just recognize and return.

Don't make monkey mind the enemy. Thank yourself for sharing a thought, and then return to your spiritual practice.

Set a timer so you don't have to open your eyes to look at the clock. Turn off your phone. Tell yourself that all is well and any pressing matters can wait a few minutes.

Be creative. You may want to vary your meditation practice so you don't become bored!

See how long you can hold an image in your mind. It could be a red ball, a pizza, a word, a phrase, a tarot card (for my tarot students!) See how you feel when focusing on that image. You can do the same with a feeling, a sound, or a positive emotion.

The more you engage in your spiritual practice, the more you will be able to hold your focus and monkey mind will become less of a distraction.

Now get meditating!

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