Updated: May 4, 2018
(Versión en Español más abajo⇟)
You come home, after a long day of work. Your body and your mind are exhausted. You have been doing more than working, in your head, you have been reviewing again and again what you have to do when you get home:
I have to go to the grocery shop today or I will have to eat that soup that has expired two years ago. S***, my car had to break just this month. Let's see how much the repair would cost! My house is a mess, I hope no one comes by surprise, what will they think of me?
If this is your case, you have what is called a Monkey Mind. No offense, all human beings have it. Your mind works like a monkey jumping from liana to liana, suddenly stopping to get fleas off the neighbor monkey. Suddenly he finds a delicious mango, which begins to devour, and after a while, he leaves the mango because he hears a strange sound in the jungle and runs to find what it is. That is your mind, incessant and insatiable, from thought to thought in a continuous flow. It absorbs like a sponge the information of the external world and creates the foundations of your beliefs, which also influences the way in which we receive such information.
Imagine that since you were a child, you have spent all your summers on the beach, playing with the waves and rolling in the sand. Now that you are older, surely you love the beach, and the sea is a source of joy and well-being for you. Imagine now that you have been raised in an inland city, and the few times you have gone to the beach has been under the watchful eye of your parents while they warn you how dangerous the sea is, and forbid you to sink yourself beyond the knees. When you are older, you may have enough worry about the dangers of the sea and it is a source of nervousness and fear for you. Can you see? Facing the same situation (the sea), two radically different responses based on experiences (peace - fear).
DO YOU KNOW YOUR MIND?
This would be the behavior of the mind. Easy, right? But do you think you know your mind? Sure, you will say. You spend the day immersed up there. Do you remember that time you were so absorbed in your thoughts that you threw the yogurt spoon in the trash? Or the time you put your clothes in the fridge instead of the laundry bucket? You spend a lot of time in your mind but it doesn't mean that you know it well, that you know what makes you react and why.
Remember that our past experiences influence our vision of reality. Remember that even the most beautiful flower can be hated by a person to whom that flower brings back bad memories of his ex. All right. So, how can you tell if your thoughts are distorted by your experiences? You have to become the observer of the Monkey Mind.
BECOME THE OBSERVER
I offer you an easy exercise that you can do right now. Close your eyes. Visualize yourself sitting in a cinema seat eating popcorn. The movie that is projected is Your Thoughts. If the cinema is not your thing, imagine that your thoughts are clouds and you see them fly in the sky from your balcony. You don't focus on any of them in particular; you only see them vanish on the horizon. Believe me, if you aren't used to getting the role of observer, it's easy for you to be absorbed by any of your thoughts and lose your concentration. It's okay. Just be aware that you have "disconnected", and return to your cinema seat, or look at the sky from your balcony again.
STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS
There is a super simple method that allows you not only to observe the fluctuations of your mind but also allows you to "capture" them so that you can review and analyze them from "outside". It is the writing technique known as Stream of Consciousness; and Joy has a tool designed mainly for it: Journal. We could say that this "meditation" is like a transcription of your internal dialogue.
How to do Stream of Consciousness writing: