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Control the Mind - Our Monkey Mind

Updated on March 2, 2011

Controlling the mind is so important

The writer at sixty
The writer at sixty

Being aware also means monitoring our thoughts

Welcome to Control the Mind Our Monkey Mind.

Watch that thought.   Controlling the mind is so important.

It is a truism that single actions make habits; that habits make character, and that character makes destiny. This applies whether our habits are actual physical acts, or a repeated fantasy yet to become a physical act. Yet we pay such flippant attention to our actions. In most cases, we could say that our acts stem from habit; habit which has long ago become unconscious and therefore no longer scrutinized for its usefulness and validity. And for most of us, the worst habit we have is the habit of not policing the thoughts that arise spontaneously in our minds. We believe we are these things. And we suffer accordingly.

It behooves us to control our thoughts

The problem is we will have negligible control over the quality of our mental life – and its resulting happiness – until we can control our thoughts. So it behooves us to control them. But it isn’t easy. In fact, it really becomes a lifelong job. Let us contemplate on what the famous Indian sage, Vivekananda, had to say on the matter around a century ago.

“How hard it is to control the mind? Well has it been compared in liknes to a maddened monkey.” Then he continues: “There was a monkey, restless by his own nature, as all monkeys are. As if that were not enough, someone made it drink freely of wine, so that it became even more restless. Then a scorpion stung that monkey. When a man is stung by a scorpion he jumps about for the whole day; so the poor monkey found its condition even worse. To complete its misery, a demon entered into it. What language can describe the uncontrollable restlessness of that monkey?

If we don't control the mind our monkey mind rules

“The human mind is like that monkey; incessantly active by its own nature. Then it becomes intoxicated - drunk with the wine of desire. Thus its turbulence is increased. After desire takes possession, can come the sting of the ‘scorpion of jealousy’ of the success of others. And last of all the ‘demon of pride’ enters that mind, making it think itself of important. How hard is it to control the mind!”

Next, Vivekananda gives us some advice on what to do. I continue here with what he had to say.

Our monkey mind. Controlling the mind is so important

“The first lesson, then, is to sit still for some time and let the mind run on. The mind is bubbling up all the time. It is like that monkey as it jumps all about. Let the monkey jump. Let him jump as much as he can. You simply watch and wait. Knowledge is power, says the proverb, and that is true. Until you know what the mind is you cannot control it. Give it the rein; many hideous thoughts may come into it; you will be astonished that it is possible for you to think such thoughts. Yet, despite this, you will find that each day the mind’s vagaries are becoming less and less violent. Each day it is becoming a little calmer. In the first few months you will find that the mind will have a great many thoughts. But later, you will find that they have somewhat decreased. After a few more months they will be fewer and fewer, until at last the mind will be under perfect control. But in order to achieve this we must patiently practice every day.”

MInd control comes about gradually, almost imperceptibly. It is looking back, that you know you've advanced.

From the above it can be seen that eventual control of your own mind is possible. I do not entirely agree with Vivikenanda that after a few months, followed by a few more months you’ll have your mind under perfect control. I’ve been practising daily for well over twenty years and my mind isn’t as yet fully under control. But it is one helluva lot better than it was at the outset. The wild-animal mind has been largely broken and is in the process of being not only tamed but trained. And I do have spontaneous moments of “no thought,” and can deliberately bring about this condition for short periods of time. What is more, by and large, I do not identify as ‘being’ what I’m thinking.

Patience, patience and persistence...

My own experience is telling me that it does take a long time to reach that point where we have our minds under perfect control all the time. Still, we’re told it is possible.

In order to get there, we have to work diligently, patiently, and persistently. But the habit of daily observance, with the objective of mind control, is the best habit we can ever develop. So let the mind run on. But don't let it take charge of you. The practice will change your character to the point where you can choose your destiny to a greater degree than you ever thought possible. Think about that...

I hope you enjoyed Control the Mind Our Monkey Mind - for controlling the mind is so important.

Keep smiling



Submit a Comment

  • Tusitala Tom profile image

    Tom Ware 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Ah, to have a reader with such an aptitude not only for understanding, but being able to make a writer seem more profound than he probably is.

  • profile image

    Audacious Shelley 7 years ago

    Fascinating hub. It lends creedence to the verses or partial verses "as a man thinketh, so is he" and "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh" and "a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways" along with "life and death is in the power of the tongue."