The monkey mind is a term for the primal and natural parts of our minds that are overly active and bouncing from thought to thought like a monkey.
The monkey brain is what drives our most basic desires, needs, and fears. It includes our emotional center and what motivates our immediate gratification.
When the mind is distracted we lose the quality we produce when we are fully focused in the present moment. Where the human mind may interject to consider delayed consequences, the monkey brain is entirely engulfed in the tempting pleasures we can derive from the present.
How Can Meditation Rewire The Mind
The simple act of following the breath in meditation begins to introduce the mind to cultivating focus and control. How can the ability to focus on the breath and allow your thoughts to pass objectively correlate to your daily life?
When we do not take the time to slow down and stop we are not able to process the beliefs and patterns we are ingraining in ourselves.
This means not only are we not filtering out beliefs that no longer serve us as easily as we could be, but that we may have a harder time seeing through emotional triggers.
When we return to a mental home base or foundation if you will, it is like taking the time to see the landscape of your mind with a birds-eye view. We take a step back and can see through Maya, a yogic term for the natural illusion of the monkey mind.
How Can Mindfulness Disable The Monkey Mind
Mindfulness is an aspect of meditation but it can also be a way of living. When we practice mindfulness we are fully focused and immersed in the present moment and we disable the autopilot of our brain.
This begins to create new neuropathways that are formed out of habitual thinking. This is how mindfulness can empower one to break addictions.
The monkey mind is animalistic and can have tunnel vision on a certain goal or destination, mindfulness stimulates the monkey along the way which makes the instant gratification less of a contrast.
For example, if a toddler is bored and sees a cookie they really want they will anchor all of their focus and desires into that cookie and may scream and cry for it unapologetically. Now, if they are already enjoying an activity and then become drawn in by the cookie they will be feeling less desperate for it.
The same effect happens when you show yourself how to enjoy every moment. You are then no longer deprived when you come to see a larger dosage of temporary joy dangled in front of you.
Here is a guided mindfulness meditation you can follow to experience the way mindfulness can tame the monkey mind. You can also read more on one of our mindfulness articles such as how to increase awareness with mindfulness or the 10 best TED talks on mindfulness.