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Taming the Monkey Mind

Monkey looking in the mirror
Training the Shaolin Arts is an excellent way to quiet the mind and achieve mental clarity.

In modern culture, we are taught to value the intellect. In the workplace, multi-tasking is king. Particularly in the West, productivity is prized in all things and the more we can get done in a day, the more effective we are as people. Or so it would seem. These ideas definitely have value. They help us innovate and advance as a society. But a major drawback to this is that it instills in us the idea that if we’re not thinking about something, if we’re not working on something at all hours of the day, then we’re somehow being lazy. Buddhism terms this state of jumping from one thought to the next a “monkey mind”

Over time, we fall into a trap where our mind is constantly pondering this thing and worrying about that thing. According to the National Science Foundation, the average person thinks somewhere between 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts. Per. Day. Holy cow, that’s a lot. Given that a great many of these thoughts can be redundant or negative, the net effect on people is one that can often make them more anxious and/or stressed out, spiking cortisol and adrenaline. The time spent jumping around in our heads ultimately takes away from the time spent in silence, ironically taking away space for the type of self-reflection which can strengthen our minds, make us happier, and actually make us more productive in a truly meaningful way.

A beautiful concept in Buddhism is the idea of “focusing on the one to eliminate the many, and from one, expand to zero.” What does this mean? This means setting our mind on one thing to quiet the chatter, and then letting our spirits expand once our minds are quiet. Having a clear and quiet mind actually strengthens it, and we can then approach every task- personal or professional- from the best possible place for success. A quiet mind doesn’t mean a dull mind, but rather a quiet mind has attained the type of razor-sharp focus that can handle anything thrown at it. Stress melts away, adverse events don’t faze us, and life becomes the experience of joy that it is meant to be.

So how do we tame the monkey mind to be the best possible version of ourselves? The Shaolin Arts have given us vast skills to do this in a simple and highly effective way. Exercises in Cosmos Qigong teach us to create singular focus through our breath. Shaolin Kungfu, prized for its rich internal force training, strengthens the mind to turn down the chatter at will. A strong and trained mind faces every challenge with ease. Thus, stress, anxiety, and depression become a blur in the rearview mirror. Shaolin Wahnam Twin Cities offers a variety of traditional kungfu and qigong classes throughout the year where you learn to cultivate these skills and take charge of your energy. Drop us a line to be notified when our next session starts and show that monkey who’s boss!

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