The monkey mind is neither bad nor good. The important thing is the relationship between you and your monkey mind.
If you treat your monkey mind as your boss or enemy, then there’s a problem. The monkey mind is restless and crazy, and you don’t want a crazy boss. Or, if you try to fight with the monkey mind, then the monkey mind becomes your enemy. And that enemy will always be there in your mind.
On the other hand, if you make friends with the monkey mind, actually, the monkey mind is quite good. The monkey mind is useful, and eventually, the monkey mind transforms into wisdom, love, compassion, and awareness.
Therefore, the relationship with the monkey mind is really important. One important thing in order to make friends with monkey mind is that you have to get to know each other well. That’s very important.
Now, I’ll tell you a little bit about how the monkey mind causes problems.
So, one day you go to the bathroom and look at the mirror and suddenly, you see something on your face, maybe new wrinkles, or the wrinkles were already there, but you didn’t recognize them before. Or maybe your right cheekbone is bigger than your left cheekbone, or your nose is crooked, or you’ve a pimple or something.
And then your monkey mind says, “Oh dear! There’s a problem with my face!” like the cheekbone. Then you’re a little bit worried, and after finishing using the bathroom, you come back and have breakfast, and while you’re having breakfast, you think about your cheekbone again, “Oh, the cheekbone! Yes.”
What happens is that our brain has neurons, what I call “Gossipy Neurons.” They love to gossip and talk to each other: “Oh, that cheekbone is ugly. That’s an ugly face.” And then, more and more neurons come together, and they become a group, and that becomes bigger and bigger.
How can we work with the monkey mind?
The key point is that if you try to fight it, it doesn’t work. If you listen and believe, “Yes, I am ugly. My cheekbones are terrible,” it doesn’t work. What you have to do for the meditation practice is… to free the monkey mind in a very skilful way.
What’s the skilful way?
Making friends with monkey mind.
How do make friends with him?
Giving it bananas doesn’t work! You need to give a job to a monkey mind. If you give a job to a monkey mind, then you become the boss, and the monkey mind becomes your employee, and its job is all these different meditation techniques.
And then, slowly, your mind becomes calmer and more peaceful. Not only calm and peaceful but pliable and workable. Now, the monkey mind becomes better, nicer, wiser, and kind. Then monkey mind becomes beneficial for you.
The issue is the relationship between you and the monkey mind. That is the issue, but the monkey mind is neither bad nor good.
Learning to control your monkey mind is one of the most important things you can do to improve your mental health. Take some time each day to reflect on your level of concentration or distraction. Focus on your ideas, identify the ones that appear most frequently, and make a genuine attempt to comprehend them.