Monkey mind

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: Monkey mind

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:15 am

rachmiel wrote:Taming the monkey ... but hopefully not spanking it. ;-)

Don't knock it, it's sex with someone you love.
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby rachmiel » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:19 am

Love? I dunno ... Sometimes I think I'm just using me for pleasure. ;-)
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:21 am

rachmiel wrote:Love? I dunno ... Sometimes I think I'm just using me for pleasure. ;-)

Ah. Seduced and abandoned then. :rolleye:
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby rachmiel » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:30 am

It's an old story, but when it happens to you ...
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:06 am

Oh, monkey mind. We go way back, rachmiel, so you're not alone :) Here are two threads I made recently on the subject:
viewtopic.php?f=45&t=15023
viewtopic.php?f=77&t=14887

First, one thing relentless monkey mind has taught me is that it does not impact our natural awareness and recognition. You recall what monkey mind said and did, even while fully embroiled in it. There is awareness and recognition during distraction. Our task is to examine our relationship to the distraction and therefore the suffering within it, not to somehow make a better, more aware mind.

Here is what I've found helps:

1.) It's impossible to gain insight into monkey mind while reacting to it. Therefore, instead of engaging in a mental tug-of-war, practice equanimity: you neither want the thought to stay nor go away, it simply isn't interesting.
This monkey mind has operated your whole life and likely lives before. It's not something foreign to oppress or try to crush through selective attention. I found I was spending my meditation trying to crush thoughts. So when the volition waned, thoughts always overwhelmed me. It created a lot of aversion towards the whole experience.
This aversion creates tension and thus feeds the fire of agitation. This article and especially the section "Bringing Thoughts to the Path" have been very helpful for me: http://www.purifymind.com/ObstaclesPath.htm

2.) Once more stabilized in equanimity, you'll experience moments of monkey mind without being distracted by it. With practice and relaxation, you'll see the seed of the thought, its arising, what it does, then its cessation.
Be very delicate in your mental "touch". You might habitually crush thoughts as soon as you notice them, which is a form of aversion. Think of the thoughts like a bird you want to study. You can't move too quickly or be too loud or it'll fly away. The article I linked explains this in more detail.

3.) This may make you notice that there is really no inherent suffering or influence in these thoughts from their own side. In fact, through choosing equanimity instead of suppression, they seem to calm down on their own. So then it's worthwhile to investigate why some thoughts are distracting and others aren't.

4.) I've noticed that before monkey mind goes nuts, there's a feeling of "lifting" off the object, and a mental momentum pulling away. I think it's attraction/clinging, motion away from the present reality of meditating. This moment is often overshadowed by the experience of distraction.
But what drives this pulling away? I'm still investigating all of this, but it seems like a subtle dissatisfaction with the present moment. Not obvious "bad smell" or "annoying coworker" dissatisfaction, but the dukkha the Buddha talked so much about. In one of my threads, someone described it as "the vibration of our neuroses".

I haven't gotten to the bottom of this yet, but I feel like my relationship with monkey mind is changing. That article especially has helped meditation start to feel interesting and helpful again instead of a frustrating, distracted waste of time. If we're going to have this experience of monkey mind, we might as well learn what we can from it :rolleye:

I'll also throw out there that meditation time is a microcosm of our state of mind the entire day or night before. If we're constantly distracted and do nothing about it during the day, or have restless dreams, then it'll be that much more of a challenge to find stability and equanimity while sitting down to meditate. In what ways do you give into distraction throughout the day?

Hope that helps.
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby greentara » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:12 am

I don't know what is and I'm not too sure Krishnamurti knew either....but I can say our appetite for miracle stories is enormous. All religions are obsessed in believing miracle stories. 'These stories are the purest of the pure heroin of the folk law of enlightenment'
The monkey mind is non other then the chattering mind, the mind that jumps from one subject or problem to the next or from one miraculous story to the next whether it be the Virgin Mary or an ancient yogi that has lived for several hundred years. There's no peace to be had but it gives juice to religion and can make life interesting.
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby greentara » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:17 am

Oops should read folklore, tall tales and monkey business.
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby justsit » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:19 am

Stages of Calm-abiding Meditation. Note monkey leading at the bottom, following tamely in the middle, then...gone.

Image
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:03 am

Taming monkey mind is sort of like trying to get out of your comfort zone:
the more you move out of your comfort zone, the bigger it gets.
Monkey mind is distracted mind, so naturally it is the opposite of mindfulness.
If you watch your thoughts bouncing all over the place (like a monkey jumping around, hence, the term)
the very act of watching is mindfulness, and
if you are actually paying full attention to that monkey,
no matter where it seems to jump to,
then you are no longer distracted.
Just like studying monkey activity in the jungle,
fully focused on it.
So, there is no need to control the monkey, to try to catch it hand hold it down and make it be still.
the very second that it sees you are watching it,
it quits jumping around.
It stops moving all by itself,
and stares back at you.

Why don't you give it a banana and see what it does?
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:28 am

:good:

A big breakthrough came for me when I finally realized for myself that monkey mind and mindfulness are not opposites.
If you try to crush the monkey with your mind, your mind will get tired and the monkey will wriggle away.
If you post a watchman, he'll fall asleep.
It's confusing at first, and counterintuitive, but you'll find your footing.
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby rachmiel » Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:24 pm

So many words! My monkey mind is tremendously excited at all this IN-PUT!
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby rachmiel » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:37 pm

duckfiasco wrote:Our task is to examine our relationship to the distraction and therefore the suffering within it, not to somehow make a better, more aware mind.

Makes sense. Work from the actuality, not towards an image of something "better."

Thanks for the link to the article. About to go there. :-)
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby hop.pala » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:45 pm

Does a similar thing happen in the realm of mindfulness? Is monkey mind a defense against being mindful, being with "what is?"[/quote]

No defense.monkey mind is you and i am.
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby rachmiel » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:47 pm

Let me modify my original question a tad to reflect what I've gleaned from this thread:

Is monkey mind a defense against seeing the self for what it is: an elaborate compelling fiction?
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby hop.pala » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:49 pm

I am this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY0YJFWNF9w

It dos not protect you,you are this.
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:59 pm

rachmiel wrote:Let me modify my original question a tad to reflect what I've gleaned from this thread:

Is monkey mind a defense against seeing the self for what it is: an elaborate compelling fiction?


No, not exactly.
Good question, however.
The monkey mind is an expression, just one of many possible ways that "the elaborate compelling fiction" appears.
"the elaborate compelling fiction" could also manifest as quietly composed, absorbed in deep meditation.
....it's anything you are likely to cling to, anything you get hung up on, that you identify as 'the real me' or the true self.

There is nothing that operates that can actually be identified as The 'self', as you probably know.

But in general, yes, constant distraction is a defense mechanism, because the mind isn't used to just resting.
the more excitement in mental activity, the more the sensation is that a self, a really busy and exciting self, exists.
A tornado is much more newsworthy than a quiet pond.
.
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby hop.pala » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:23 pm

"Is monkey mind a defense against seeing the self for what it is: an elaborate compelling fiction?"
Fiction?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEARyx7wxAI

unpleasant picture,unpleasant fiction?
Last edited by hop.pala on Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby rachmiel » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:23 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:The monkey mind is an expression, just one of many possible ways that "the elaborate compelling fiction" appears.
"the elaborate compelling fiction" could also manifest as quietly composed, absorbed in deep meditation.
....it's anything you are likely to cling to, anything you get hung up on, that you identify as 'the real me' or the true self.

Interesting. Must ponder.

But in general, yes, constant distraction is a defense mechanism, because the mind isn't used to just resting.
the more excitement in mental activity, the more the sensation is that a self, a really busy and exciting self, exists.

And that's pretty much what I was trying to point to.

You say "constant distraction is a defense mechanism" ... against what? Just resting? Quiet? Peace? Stillness?
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby hop.pala » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:45 pm

"You say "constant distraction is a defense mechanism" ... against what? Just resting? Quiet? Peace? Stillness?"

Against that:

Against yourself xddd
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Re: Monkey mind

Postby hop.pala » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:49 pm

rachmiel wrote:So many words! My monkey mind is tremendously excited at all this IN-PUT!



ok you say.Let it be.And search for Buddha.
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