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Monkey Time

Major Lance recorded the song, but it was written by a young Curtis Mayfield, of whom I have long been a fan. Nobody quite blended politics and controversial personal beliefs with soul music, like Curtis Mayfield.

This particular song also gets me thinking about what meditators often refer to as the "monkey mind" and, inevitably, it became grist for the August blog series. Forgive me-- I couldn't help myself!

What, exactly, is the monkey mind? Well, for the uninitiated, it refers to the constant, random manner in which the human mind works when not tasked with a particular problem or project. The mind is always spinning out thoughts-- whether we're aware of them, or not.

Don't believe me? Try sitting (or kneeling, lying or standing) silently, with your eyes closed for even a few seconds, and watch your own thoughts-- then you'll understand what the monkey mind is all about. The trick is to observe those thoughts, without judgment or attachment, as they come into consciousness and then pass by.

Aside from the pure amusement of observing the monkey mind, there are also a number of valuable skills that can be learned-- skills that have real application in "real life". What are those skills? To list them very briefly (each individual skill could be the subject of a very long discussion) the skills are: non-attachment, non-judgment and letting go.

That may sound kind of woo woo (like those things don't actually apply to real life, situations), but think about the last time you had to deal with a difficult situation or conversation, and the raft of emotions you had to process.

Many of those emotions impact our ability to respond, rather than react, and most readers appreciate the difference. Measured response (as opposed to knee-jerk reaction) is like a milk shake, without milk-- it's not even remotely the same thing.

Not even a monkey would argue with that!


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