Mindfulness & Monkey Mind: Thoughts are viruses

Keep Clear


The ancestor of every action is thought. — Emerson


Steve Robertson reminds us in this Huffington Report article Mindfulness and Monkey Mind:

Our minds are abuzz with thousands of thoughts each day, all of which compete for our attention and a corollary action. The Buddhists call this untrained mind of buzzing thoughts the Monkey Mind.

While it is a metaphor, Lee Thayer reminds us in Communication: A Pocket Oracle for Leaders

Communication is a bit like a virus. If I am listening to someone or something, my mind is involved and will be infected or afflicted by my complicity in the process.

IF i am going to speak or write something, I have already infected my mind with my thoughs and my strategies. Then, when I carry on I engage the minds of others, and then they are now “infected.”

…There are good viruses. And then there are bad viruses.

If I am reading, listening, or observing, my mind will be affected. If I am talking or otherwise “communicating” with others, their minds will be affected. If i am watching television or a video, my mind will be affected. It will be altered from then on, for good or for ill.

So what’s the lesson?

Avoid the bad germs that affect or infect my mind. Seek out the good germs. Do the same for others. Require them to do the same for one another. Both the health and the destiny of my life, my family, my community and the world utterly depend upon it.

Susan Scott of Fierce Conversations would put it this way:

My life succeeds or fails, one conversation at a time.

This is where I have to remember that all conversations are with myself. They just happen to involve other people part of the time.

So I am back to sitting quietly. Breathing and observing my breath. I get to observe my monkey mind and let the buzzing go. Quietly and calmly I bring my mind back to observing my breath.

Mindfulness is a practice. Practice makes permanent. Right practice makes right practice permanent.  If I am not practicing I a coasting. And as the saying goes: When you’re coasting, you’re going down hill.

This video from UCSD Mindfulness Center with Jon Kabat-Zinn is a good reflection about  coming to our senses.

Coming To Our Senses

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