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Archive for February, 2008

ethiopia-monkey.jpg 

By: Stacy Kamala Waltman

A reoccurring question this past month has been about the benefits of meditation. 

When we hear spiritual people referring to the “Monkey Mind” and attempting to control its turbulent thrashing, what do they mean?

Unlike other wild animals, monkeys are easily caught.

Captors place a bright shiny object like a rhinestone, penny or bead into a clear container with a small enough opening for a monkey’s hand to fit through and then the captor leaves – appearing to abandon the container with it’s artifact.

The monkey, attracted by the object, runs to the container, thrusts in his hand and with utter satisfaction, grabs the shiny object and attempts to run back and add it to his hoard.  

However, as he is clutching his treasure, his once small hand is now a large fist and the monkey cannot remove his fist from the opening – he is caught. 

All the monkey has to do to regain his freedom is let go of the object and his hand will once again slip easily out of the container’s opening, but the monkey’s nature does not allow him to let go.

According to Rev. W. Jones May 9, 1846 article on the Moral Character of the Monkey,

“They are saucy and insolent; always making an attempt to bully and terrify people, and biting those first who are most afraid of them.

Monkey’s never let things alone, but must know what is going forward. 

If a pot or a kettle is set on the fire, and the cook turns her back, the monkey whips off the cover to see what she has put into it; even though he cannot get at it without scalding his feet upon the hot bars of the grate.

No monkey has any sense of gratitude, but takes his victuals with a snatch, and then grins in the face of the person that gives it to him, lest he should take it away again; for he supposes that all men will snatch away what they can lay hold of, as all monkeys do.”

Through an invincible selfishness, no monkey considers any individual but himself.

If anything he takes hold of can be broken or spoiled, he is sure to find the way of doing it; and he chatters with pleasure when he hears the noise of a china vessel smashed to pieces upon the pavement.”

Monkey’s know-it-all and can not sit still.  Calmness and quietness are foreign to the monkey.  They thrive on frenetic activity.

Quieting the “monkey mind” through meditation is referring to developing the capacity to be calm AND alert. 

True freedom is obtained once the mind is free from addictive and unconscious thought patterns.  We become more aware of our tendencies, biases and stero-types.  The compulsion to judge ourselves and others diminishes as our intelligence expands through developing our meditation practice.

The quality of our life improves as we allow shallow and limited mind sets to expand into greater connection and understanding. 

Meditating allows us to have access to more information, knowledge, wisdom and understanding which lies beyond the intellect. 

We become fuller and freer as a result of expanding our capacity to live.  A wonderful resource is a book from Eckhart Tolle called, The Power of Now.

May you give yourself permission and allow yourself to expand ~

 

 

 

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