Ah, the ‘monkey mind’. That non-stop, ever-present, pervasive chatter that creates a subtext for all of your other thoughts. It’s based in fear, worry and doubt. While the brain is a wonderful creation, it’s really not the boss of you. It’s there to keep you alive.
The brain creates emotions like fear and hate and love and sensations like pain to keep you out of danger and help you thrive. It’s why those things play such a big part in your life. It boils down to the basic “fight or flight” response, that was programmed tens of thousands of years ago. It’s what keeps you safe, and provides for your survival.
But sometimes, our brains take things to the extreme and we can paralyze ourselves with not moving forward in life. The little thoughts in the background become bigger thoughts in the foreground…and then they affect our attitudes and behaviors. We make excuses for not having a satisfying career, or why we aren’t successful, or why we haven’t been able to maintain a solid relationship, because we doubt ourselves, we fear change, and we’re scared. We tell ourselves stories that just aren’t true…even the story that we just can’t calm our mind.
Yes, you can.
Learn to quiet your brain and you will learn to create happiness in your life:
1. Learn to meditate.
An effortless, mantra-based style of meditation (like the one I teach my clients) will simply cut through the garbage. Meditation, over time, helps us to change patterns of thoughts and behaviors. It creates healing, on the levels of body, mind and spirit…and eventually, you will have noticeable moments of complete silence.
2. Stop stressing about quieting your mind during meditation.
Firstly, the thoughts you have during mediation do not mean that you are not meditating correctly. In fact, it means that you are releasing stress while you are meditating, which is not just good, it’s great. The trick is to no become attached to the thoughts. Don’t get worked up about them, don’t have a physical reaction or tie an emotion to them. Simply notice them and let them float by.
What’s that? You don’t have time / aren’t good at meditating / don’t know where to start? Sounds like doubt, fear and worry to me!
2. Face your ‘inner critic’ head on.
Have you ever really listened to that voice inside your head? You know what it sounds like. It’s a nagging, critical version of yourself, but it’s not your TRUE self. It’s only a mental construction, meant to help you survive. Remember?
When those nagging, negative thoughts pop-up, tell your inner critic to go and take a time out. Sit him or her in a chair under an apple tree (or wherever else you might like), and tell him or her to be quiet. You’re not going to listen today.
Acknowledge the thoughts, and ask yourself where they are coming from. What are you afraid of? What’s really bothering you? This is what your brain does. It looks for signs of trouble, and if it doesn’t see any around you, it turns inward and starts making things up. When you acknowledge what is really going on, you open space for healing and progress.
Smiling works on the physical psychological and spiritual levels. Smile and focus on the feeling it gives you. Smile and focus on it. When I was actively teaching yoga and I saw the pain and frustration break through on my students’ faces, I told them to smile. It will spread with every breath you take. It will relax you and elevate you. (When done properly in a stressful setting, and when everyone else is consumed with their own monkey mind, it will also serve to make others wonder what you are up to…totally fun, which will make you smile even more.)
5. Honor the divinity that is you.
You are perfect, just as you are. I know. It’s hard to believe. You are up against a Soul that chose your life lessons before you were born, and a brain that was hard-wired for survival tens of thousands of years ago. Free will or no free will, you can’t control that. But, you can control your thoughts. We are made of energy. Have you heard that before? Well, we are. So, good thoughts, good words and good intentions will create a good universe for you to live in.
What all of this means is that when it feels like the world is beating you up, it’s really not. It is just your hard-wired brain trying to do what it was designed to do – protect you. Only it’s trying to do that with a program that is totally out-of-date. Change it.
Alyssa Semple is not a medical doctor, and does not claim to prevent, treat, or cure disease. It is always recommended that clients continue working with their physicians for routine medical care and the treatment of illness. Alyssa’s services are intended to complement your health care, and to promote better health through dietary and lifestyle changes.