Taming the Monkey Mind: What Stops You And How to Stop That
Seamus Anthony's blog is about how the Musician (aka Mewzo) must first win "the battle" in the mind. Old Zen geezers call the problematic aspects of the mind "The Monkey". If you can tame the Monkey by getting your thinking right then happiness and success as a musician, on your own terms, are within your grasp. It's Mewzo Vs Monkey - let the battle begin!
This is an excerpt from the BETA version of Seamus Anthony’s new book, “Taming the Monkey Mind: What Stops You and How To Stop That”. You can download it for free for a limited time here.
The companion song to this book, Monkey Mind, repeats over and over that “it takes some time to tame the monkey mind” – but what does this mean? And why should you care? What is the problem we are trying to solve?
I reckon the song touches on the answer in the lines “you climb and you climb, only to find, that at the end of the day, all your effort doesn’t pay, and you still haven’t gotten any higher”. Clearly this deals with the frustration you feel as you try to succeed in life.
But what is success? Is it becoming a rock star or a famous author or a Nobel Prize winning scientist? Is it getting rich? Or is success simply enjoying this moment now, loafing around in your pyjamas, stroking the cat, chugging Earl Grey from a chipped mug?
Clearly part of success is defining what success actually is. And here is where the Monkey Mind can be found, wickedly thrusting bananas between your spokes, trying to make you fall off your bike.
So part of the trick to success is getting around the rubbish that your Monkey Mind feeds you about what success actually is.
But hold on a second…
What is the Monkey Mind?
Here’s my definition:
The Monkey Mind is that voice inside you that seeks to undermine you at every turn in order to protect the status quo.
The Monkey Mind is very scared, very devious and full of shit. The Monkey Mind’s values are all bent out of shape. He tells you that success is outwardly validated. He tells you that you will only be successful when you see your name up in lights, when you have the flash car, the fancy house. The Monkey Mind is the opposite of your Higher Mind.
Your Higher Mind knows better and is always there; quietly and gently guiding you back to true success. True Success lies within and you have already achieved it.
You Want What You Want
If you have ambitions, you have ambitions. If you desire something, you desire it. There is nothing wrong with this. Great Spirit wants it too. In fact you are Great Spirit seeking this experience in the physical plane.
The problem is when your Monkey Mind gets all hung up and sees the experience you seek in the physical plane as being something that keeps you separate from happiness. Think about it – why do you want what you want? You might not have stopped to consider this but it is well worth doing.
When I was a young lad I wanted to be a “rock star”. When I had become a small-time rock star in a small city, I became disillusioned with this desire and lost focus on it. I still paid it lip service but I didn’t really focus down hard on it anymore, consequently, my rising rock star status slipped away.
It was only years later that I realised what had happened.
As a teenager I hadn’t just wanted to be a “rock star”. I wanted the benefits that being a rock star would bring me, namely lots of popularity with both guys and more importantly, girls. I wanted this because I thought it would make me feel good and certain about myself instead of feeling horrible and uncertain about myself. In short, I thought being a really popular guy who got to play music all day and night and generally got to have a lot of fun and didn’t have to work, would make me happy.
By the time my band was one of the 3 or so biggest bands in town, the top of the local tree, my life pretty much resembled what I had dreamt about. Travel just wasn’t heavily on my radar back then, I barely had any concept of it, so essentially I had focussed so hard for so long on the things I desired, that I eventually got them. These were:
- Playing awesome music in an awesome band
- Fronting a really, really popular band who regularly filled venues with hundreds and even thousands of fans.
- Being super-popular with girls
- And therefore sticking it to all the guys i.e. “Ha ha – who’s the cool guy now, losers?” (High school didn’t leave me bitter at all!)
- Having a lot of fun all of the time and not having to do stuff I hated like work for the man
So at that point, I had achieved all I’d set out to achieve. I’m sure I paid lip service to wanting to be famous nationally and internationally, but the truth was I had received what I had faithfully focused on so intensely for all those teenage years … and now there was a problem.
It didn’t make me happy.
This was a flaw in the plan. Surely when girls where throwing themselves at me left right and centre, and all the guys wanted to be me, and I got to be creative without having to do “boring stuff”, and my life was just one big party – I would be happy then right?
It didn’t work that way. I had fallen for the oldest trick in the book, the “I’ll Be Happy When…” trick. It’s the Monkey Mind’s stock in trade and he is really, really, good at using it to fuck with us. I doubt you’d even be reading this book if old Monkey Mind wasn’t doing your head in right now with that old chestnut. He still threatens me with it daily. It is probably the root cause of all human suffering.
We must rise above this ruse and call it out. When you call out the Monkey Mind, his power is stripped (at least momentarily) and the more you call him out the weaker he gets. That’s the point of this book, to systematically weaken the Monkey’s grip on your thoughts and therefore your life, enabling you to get back in touch with who you are and your natural state of happiness, health and success.
Now getting back to what it was that you desire. You do not need to give this up. In fact, at an energetic level you already have it. You do not need to give up your dreams and ambitions (as long as they are constructive ambitions not destructive). Relax: you still get to win the Oscar for best actor!
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.
Author DetailsSeamus Anthony
Seamus Anthony makes music in the Bar Romantic genre. His sound is similar to Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash – but more Australian. Enjoy with a twist of black funny.