Training Your Monkey Mind

Training Your Monkey Mind

Why meditate?… Why not?

If you were to ask any highly ‘successful’ individual what is part of their daily regime, meditation would rank one of, if not the highest. Sheryl Crow, Russell Simmons, Kobe Bryant, Deepak Chopra, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Jobs, Paul McCartney, Tony Robbins, Clint Eastwood, Katy Perry, Oprah, Elon Musk, the list goes on. All for the same similar reason of reducing stress, emotional health, stability, recovery days from high intensity, creating a positive outlook on life… the list continues [1].

The power of meditation has scientifically been proven as a unique tool to our human existence. Anyone can use this technique to create self-awareness, self-control, peace, calmness, moments of bliss eventually leading to the mastering of your own mind. There is a well-known story known as ’The Chariot’ written in the famous Upanishads scripture. “Know that the Self is the rider, and the body being the chariot; that the intellect is the charioteer, and the mind the reins” [2].  The idea is once Man has a hold of his reigns, he will have self-control of thoughts, however, when Man has no control, his sense is unmanageable like the restive horses of a charioteer.

The perspective of meditation comes in many forms, making it a personal choice on how to control your reigns.

The Benefits?

WARNING: This practice can and will…

  • Reduce stress
  • Control anxiety
  • Promote emotional health
  • Enhance self-awareness
  • Control pain
  • Improve sleep
  • Increase happiness
  • Decrease depression
  • Inspire creativity
  • Motivate movement
  • Welcome patience
  • Create compassion and positivity 
  • Make YOU a better being on this planet

Okay, so how about why not?

The benefits of meditation are talked about time and time again. Yet, many people don’t meditate regularly, if at all for that matter. Although adding meditation to your daily routine may seem like a chore, it truly does not need to be an activity that requires copious amounts of effort, time, materials and space. Keep it simple. Even meditating for short periods will bring benefits. Meditation will increase attention span and decrease memory loss.; it is a new way of thinking, unlocking the old patterns of poor attention, worry and mind wondering bringing in refreshed, compassionate, open-minded thinking. Meditation will help clear the clouds leaving room for only blue sky as your very own outlook.  

“How to” Meditate

Practicing meditation does not come in one typical position legs crossed, hands on thigh pose. Meditation can take form in many ways and places. The key is to place your attention fully on the task at hand. For example, washing the dishes, listening to music, running, yoga, painting, hiking- connecting to your breath and the present moment. Just as if you were sitting crossed legged down on a mat, thoughts will come and you’ll be taken into a new thought pattern unrelated to the task at hand. This is part of the meditation process, this is why it is called a practice. As you continually commit to focusing solely on 1 simple task the ‘mind chatter’ will dissipate leaving room for clarity. The key is to stay committed and find the type of meditation that works for you.

I have frequently heard from professionals- if you have zero time to meditate, you need to make time for meditation. 

What are my current ways and how can you start today?

I took a Yoga and Meditation course at Mount Royal University. One of our projects included meditation for 30 days and to keep a consistent journal documenting our experience. Before this, I had my own meditation routine off and on throughout the year’s age 19-22. I would attend meditation workshops through different yoga studios in Calgary. Meditation tied in closely with my passion for yoga. My most common form of meditation was in my own room. Placing my matt/cushion onto my bedroom floor, either sitting or lying down with a recording playing alongside. My meditation times ranged 10 minutes to 45 minutes. I made sure it was an undisturbed space placing a sticker on my door “meditating”- my family thought I was crazy, and never bothered me 🙂 

Before beginning your own practice, I always recommend coming from a place of learning and humbleness. I learned this personally as I am naturally very critical, as we all are! I became frustrated, annoyed, impatient, bored, defeated, creating fuel for the thought patterns I was working to breakdown. Especially in the beginning, it is a challenging practice but that’s because you are growing and changing through it. Nothing great comes easy! This takes time and time again of work- that’s the beauty. The simplicity but how truly difficult it is. Meditation is the ‘gym’ for your mind. It is a muscle you as an individual need to take responsibility for. We are the owner of our mental neighbourhood, it is a place we want to reside in. Creating our own reality amongst what society pushes upon us… think about how strong you can be! This is a practice everyone can do, you can do it anywhere with anyone. There are many meditation courses/ support groups available, including a selection of apps one can download, to name a few, Headspace, Calm, 10% Happier, Inscape and many more.

It is a step for yourself with the intention of improving quality of life- all you need are a few minutes a day. 

Try and see for yourself. You are the master of your own monkey.

Sara

References

[1] https://zenfulspirit.com/2017/03/02/22-successful-people-meditate/

[2] https://ocoy.org/dharma-for-christians/upanishads-for-awakening/the-katha-upanishad/the-chariot/

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