Monkey Mind

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Monkey Mind

Postby kevinl » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:59 pm

The first few times I meditated, I did ok but ever since then I've been getting progressivly worse with monkey mind and I'm not sure why. It's very frustrating. Does anyone have any tips? I've tried counting my breaths, but that only helps a very little bit.
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Re: Monkey Mind

Postby Indrajala » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:00 pm

If you can, talk to a teacher in real life about this.

Failing that, how is your lifestyle?

Morality is the foundation of any practise. I'm not saying you must be evil or something like that, but your social activities can affect your meditation.
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Re: Monkey Mind

Postby kevinl » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:37 pm

I have talked to a teacher in person about this, and he just told me the samething as the frist time I met with him. "Concentrate on your breathing."

Quite frankly, I was looking for a little more instruction then that.

I'm under a lot of stress right now because of school but I try to be a good person. I'm not sure if always am all the time, but I am aware of when I do something bad or wrong, and I try to make amends for it.
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Re: Monkey Mind

Postby Indrajala » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:44 pm

That's probably your obstacle right now then. :smile:

You're stressed out. :rolleye:
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Re: Monkey Mind

Postby kevinl » Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:32 pm

Actually I've noticed something today.

Recently when I've been doing mediation, the thoughts weren't really concrete thoughts but fragments of thoughts that I was suppressing. But this would still frustrate and I would give up after 2 minutes of meditation.

But instead of giving up today, I simply continued and tried to refocus myself as I went along. By the end of my session, which I did for about 10 minutes I felt, honestly, like I really got something out of it.

Could this be a sign of good things to come? Maybe I just needed to force myself to keep with it.
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Re: Monkey Mind

Postby Indrajala » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:14 am

The more you do it, the easier it gets, the clearer your mind will become. :smile:

Even ten minutes a day if done over a long period of time will be quite beneficial!
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Re: Monkey Mind

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:24 am

Greetings,

Image

Or as it's known in Sanskrit, prapañca, is the process of conceptual proliferation which causes the mind to leap from one thing to another... proliferating concepts until we take stock and wonder how we allowed the mind to leap around like that!

This in itself is a good learning... that the mind is not under our control, as we might often believe it to be so! Seeing and understanding the disadvantages and dangers involved in 'monkey mind' make it a less desirable activity and help mindfulness in the battle of overcoming these mindless habits.

Metta,
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Re: Monkey Mind

Postby catmoon » Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:45 pm

Sounds like it is starting to come together. It's an up and down process, but the general trend is towards improved concentration. Just keep doing what yer doing try to be patient.

If life is distracting you, this might help: Begin with a brief reflection that no matter how pressing life's issues are, it is perfectly permissable to set it all completely to one side for a few minutes a day, for the sake of your peace of mind!
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Re: Monkey Mind

Postby kirtu » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:20 am

kevinl wrote:I have talked to a teacher in person about this, and he just told me the samething as the frist time I met with him. "Concentrate on your breathing."

Quite frankly, I was looking for a little more instruction then that.


From your description I assume you are doing calming meditation or Zen meditation. Your teacher gave you the right advice regardless of whether the monkey mind is coming from stress or not. Concentrating on your breath fully, not distractedly will eliminate the monkey mind. Your mind will calm down over time irrespective of external circumstances.

Another thing is that people just beginning meditation often report that their meditation is getting worse because of all the thoughts (and pieces of thoughts as you noted) that they begin to notice. These we always there actually but before they didn't notice. Instead of getting worse their meditation has actually improved because their attention has improved to the point that they can see all the things flying around in the mind.

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Re: Monkey Mind

Postby Chaz » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:28 pm

kevinl wrote:I have talked to a teacher in person about this, and he just told me the samething as the frist time I met with him. "Concentrate on your breathing."

Quite frankly, I was looking for a little more instruction then that.


That sort of answer, and your reaction to it are not uncommon.

Sometimes, most times, our teachers give instruction that's needed and not one we want. We think there is some deep, profound, and inrticate instuction that should be forthcoming, but it often seems that our teachers feel the oposite - that the instruction needed is something far more simple and direct. In my experience, it's those instructions are the ones that we need and not something more involved. I Ialso found that these instructions are what should be followed.

Your teacher is quite right. The instruction is for you to "Concentrate on your breathing." That is exactly what you should be doing. Instead of all the analysis and worry, just breathe. Forget about about how you feel. Forget about what you have or haven't attained - just follow the instruction.

You metioned "surpressing" thought. That is the wrong approach. Ask your teacher. He'll agree. The essential point is to realize that you can't really "surpress" thought. It's impossible in the early stages of learning practice. Also, keep in mind that your teacher's instruction is to concentrate on your breathing. That instruction includes nothing about supressing anything. Supressing thought is not the same thing as concentrating on your breathing.

So, follow your teacher's instruction. Concentrate on your breathing.
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Re: Monkey Mind

Postby Bodhi » Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:38 am

Hello Kevin,

The best meditation method for beginner is counting your breath. One important factor is right posture, it has alot of affects.

Second is the breathing. The method that I am using is from Chung Tai Chan Monastery so I don't know what method you are doing. What I do is when I inhale, I dont inhale alot but just normal inhaling, not too fast nor too slow. Then when i exhale, i exhale not too fast or too slow, during exhaling I count from 1-10 but if my breath is short i can count less than 10 but it is important to never go over 10.
You can choose to count during inhaling or exhaling BUT NEVER BOTH, only one.

It is also important to NOT suppress thought. Meditation is not about suppressing wandering thoughts. It is about concentration and in this case you concentrate on counting, even so your mind will drift off into wandering thought, when realize this, just let go and return to your counting. Do not tried to suppress your thoughts, acknowledge it and then let it go. The Grand Master Wei Chueh told a disciple when he have problem with wandering thought was "Do not hit the ball and it wont bounce" So do not try to think too much about your wandering thoughts, just know it is there, then gently let it go and return to your counting.

We will to continue getting wandering thoughts while meditation, that is why we meditate to focus our mind and to tame the monkey mind slowly until we can fully focus without wandering thoughts. It is a process.

Also remember to not expect anything, just count your breathe. Don't expect any result or any phenomenon, because then it will become a distraction.

Do not feel discourage, and continue to meditate. :]

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Re: Monkey Mind

Postby spiritnoname » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:40 am

Your problem is complicated, but that's why you're meditating to begin with.

When I encounter this kind of obstacle I make the breath more enjoyable, and control the winds in the body such that thoughts do not have the chance to arise.

So, to make the breath more enjoyable so that it will keep your interest, you exert a perception. Buddha Shakyamuni taught this in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness in the Majjhima Nikaya, "breathing in with satisfaction, fullness, etc". We see the breath as satisfying, fulfilling, maybe healing or relaxing, and we really enjoy the breath in this way, bringing about more and more contentment and joy that holds our interest much better than things outside.

You can control the breath energy in various ways, learning about the breath energy is a major part in achieving stabilization and a lot of your realizations will be about the breath energy because it is so close to the mind. One thing that is really useful is knowing that before a thought arises there will be a stirring in the breath energy, and if you notice and breath through it, disrupting it, the thought will not form.

These are things I have heard from monks and read in suttas that I have found useful, maybe it will help you.
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