I started meditating about 6 years ago – and I still remember how challenging it used to be for me to be sitting in silent in Lotus Pose. Starting with 5 Minutes a day, my mind was racing after just 30 seconds. I thought; Wow, how can people actually enjoy this? Every possible thought popped up in my head, from things I experienced in my childhood to laundry, to a comment someone has made the day before. I could not silence my thoughts. Being an observer of my inner life? Pah! I was right in it. Detaching seemed somewhat impossible.

Looking back at my beginnings, I feel that I really grew. It was hard back then, but I stuck with it and showed up for my daily 5 Minute practice. Eventually, my mind became more quiet and yes, I really became an observer.

If I would have to name one of the things that really improved my life, it would very probably be meditation. While meditating, you feel that you are not your thoughts, even you might think that in the beginning.

Meditating now

I find myself every morning following my rigid routine; Waking up between 04 to 05:30, stretching, journaling, reading and most important; Meditating. Minimum 20 Minutes.

Sometimes the mind is really quiet, but oftentimes, I still catch my inner monkey. I am a few minutes into the practice and I suddenly feel a tingling in my feet, so my monkey mind wants to change position. I feel a tickle in my nose, so monkey mind feels I need to do something about that.

All those little sensations I want to prevent. And of course, they happen to distract me and keep my mind busy.

My goal is to be doing a Vipassana Retreat in 2022. In Vipassana, we see things as they are. Meaning, we completely detach from our pain, sensations and thoughts. They do not define us. In those retreats, the seated position is not being changed for one hour.

I still change my seated position once or twice during a meditation, and am now dedicated to overcome the need of getting away from the suffering (my leg just always starts to sleep and it feels uncomfortable). It is not easy though. Since it is in human nature to prevent any form of suffering, it really is challenging me to detach and ignore the pain and discomfort.

The Monkey Mind in my Thoughts

Being in the present time is hard. I still catch the Monkey thinking about the future; “When are we having coffee?” “You should really grab that book about Mudras you bought weeks ago and never picked up” “What’s for Lunch today?” “Do we still have Bananas?”

Thoughts like that would have driven me crazy a few years ago. How is it so hard to be in the present moment, the only moment that really counts?

All to often we are either thinking about the past or the future. It is just super hard to be staying in the here and now. Because, when we meditate, our mind has a break and time to really rest and connect to our inner source. That is hard for the monkey. The monkey wants to be active, plan and play. He will very probably try to tease us. And the more we give in – by being bothered or actually dive deeper into these thoughts- the happier monkey gets. Fighting the monkey is only going to indulge him further. What really helps is to be proud. Noticing the monkey is a huge accomplishment. We can acknowledge him and watch ourselves observing the thoughts of our monkey. Observing our infinite awareness. And if we ever catch ourselves giving in to the monkey; That is fine. And now it is time to come back. Being gentle and kind with ourselves is probably the most important lesson when meditating.

Humans are, by nature, neurotic and it takes a whole lot of commitment and practice to silence the monkey. We might fight him – but we might as well befriend our monkey. We might integrate the monkey by allowing a “brain dump” within the first few minutes of our practice. We might journal beforehand and write the things down, that monkey wants to tell us. We can tell our friend that we now need our space and encourage him to stay silent.

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