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Recently, I scrolled past a video on Facebook (one of those annoying ones that start auto-playing on your timeline), and I couldn’t help but watch after reading the caption. It read: “How to Train Your Monkey Mind.” In the video, the “monkey mind” is a term used for a typical human’s brain – filled with racing thoughts, self-doubt, emotions, over thinking, anxiety, and worry. Whether you listen to it is up to you.
Meditation is often thought to only be achieved by those that are able to slow down a bit, live in the moment, take a few breaths without the stress – or how the media portrays them – the “spiritually connected” types.
But as I watched this video, with Tibetan Buddhist Master as the subject, I realized that meditation can be done anywhere by anyone, anytime. Even if it’s only for 2 or 3 seconds, while you’re walking, while you’re having a coffee or tea, while you’re having a meeting (hopefully not with the boss), while you’re sitting with family or at a rock concert – you, yourself can meditate.
We all have busy lives with multiple things happening at once, daily stressors, and the never ending chatter happening inside of our heads.
It comes to no surprise that many people have a misunderstanding about meditation. They think that that meditation means to sit very still, to concentrate, and to think of nothing.
The truth is, we cannot block out thoughts or emotion – no matter how hard we try. We can’t shut off the “monkey mind” – we can’t give it a banana to stop thinking. The right method is to give the “monkey mind” a job – a distraction, if you will.
How do you give a job to the “monkey mind” you ask? Tibetan Master says Meditation 101 begins with: Being aware of the breath. You ask the monkey mind: “Hello, can you watch my breathing, please?” and the monkey mind says, “Ah yes, good idea!” And you are now aware of breathing – in and out. There is a lot of thought still happening in the background and that’s okay – as long as you are still aware and intentional about the breathing.
Therefore, we can meditate anywhere, anytime! Give it a try out during your day today and see how it goes.