Last night, I tried performing the “Monkey Mind” meditation shortly before going to bed. It works! It gives me a method to shut off the constant babble in my head, which, in turn, lets my quieted mind move more easily into rest.
The “monkey mind” is a Buddhist metaphor that describes the natural, chaotic state of our untrained minds. This exercise creates a visual representation of your mind to help you move from chaos to calm. When you’re first learning to meditate, this visual helps you understand how easily the mind becomes distracted. Knowledge is power, and that which is known can be controlled. Give this meditation a try and see if it works for you also.
1 Mason jar filled with water
1 spoonful of dirt of sand
1. Observe the clarity of the water in the Mason jar. It’s clear and free, with nothing to muddy it.
2. Add a spoonful of dirt/sand to the water. This represents your thoughts, feelings, fears and worries. Tighten the lid on the jar and shake it vigorously. This represents how our thoughts and feelings are in a constant state of motion.
3. Look at the water. Is it unclear, distorted, cloudy, and murky? Take a moment to reflect on how this jar is similar to the endless chatter and movement in your mind.
4. Breathe. Watch the sediment slowly settle to the bottom. Breathe. Watch the dirt settle. Breathe. Watch the dirt settle. This is your focused point of attention—watching the clutter of your mind settle. Breathe. Watch the dirt settle.
5. Every time your mind is hijacked by another thought, feeling, or worry, shake the Mason jar and start over. Go back to your point of attention, watching the dirt settle and breathing. If another thought, idea or worry comes into your mind, shake the Mason jar again.
6. Continue this exercise for 13 minutes.
7. Repeat steps 1 through 6 whenever you feel as if you’re in a state of chaos.