Scatterbrains and Drunken Monkeys

Scatterbrains and Drunken Monkeys September 9, 2020

What does meditation, India, free thought, and self-fulfillment all have in common? Monkeys. There are millions of free-range monkeys scampering across India, and an equal number of metaphorical monkeys running havoc in our minds.

Our thoughts often run havoc in our minds like wild monkeys. / Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Contemplatives often liken the scatterbrained way in which the human mind thinks to the actions of a drunken monkey. Most people can relate to stumbling through their days like macaques downing tequila sunrises from sunup to sundown. We wake up feeling calm and confident, but our thoughts quadruple before we’ve enjoyed a few cups of coffee. By the time we dash out the front door — especially if we’ve checked out the news — our heartbeats are soaring. And the number and complexity of thoughts only magnifies throughout the day, while our bodies move like zombies functioning in a mindless autopilot mode.

It’s tough to control what’s happening in the world around us, but we can learn to control our thoughts. / Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

What’s happening in our heads is utterly chaotic. At any given moment we are filled with conflicting emotions; grappling with particular states of mind from contentment to full-blown panic; having arguments with our inner self about what we should have said or done; continually planning our fretting about everything; dealing with personal, friendship, or family issues; contending with the challenges of work; trying to survive in an age of pandemics and political and civil unrest; and so many other issues.

Take time to understand yourself. / Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Overall what’s missing from our day? For many, not even five minutes of quality brain time to relax and think about who we are and how life actually works. Which is where meditation can help. It not only lets us “see” how our minds think, but also to understand the complexities of life. This in turn, helps the brain to focus on what’s really important and to disregard the rest, which allows our monkey minds to settle into a state of calm serenity.

About Scott R Stahlecker
Scott R. Stahlecker is the author of the novel "Blind Guides, “Picking Wings Off Butterflies,” and “How to Escape Religion Guilt Free.” He is a former pastor and previous owner of several hospice agencies. “I’ve spent roughly thirty years as a freethinker. In that time have noticed that there’s few non-religious websites that offer optimistic discussions about the benefits of free thought or insights on developing freethinking skills. Which is what Thinkadelics is all about; covering newsworthy posts to in-depth features, which best articulates the joys of being a freethinker.” You can read more about the author here.

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4 responses to “Scatterbrains and Drunken Monkeys”

  1. Another great post! I’ve had a meditation practice for a number of years now and still find myself veering into monkey-mind from time to time. Sometimes I’ve even realized I need to sit (or at least to do the 8-4 breaths) and find myself resisting. I’ve been questioning that in myself and realized that I’m relying on the adrenaline rush to get me through the (event/afternoon/etc.).

    This time of pandemic was a huge respite for many people–I think a good number of Americans are perpetually overburdened and running on fumes. Whether that’s vital to survival or vital to ego is another topic.

    For the subset of people who could work from home without a loss of paycheck, the pandemic was a time to restore sanity. With nowhere to go and the weather uncooperative to many outside pursuits, people got enough sleep, cleaned and organized their homes, and reconnected with people in a way that’s impossible when work, the commute, and the chore list take up all the day.

    I realized for myself, now that I’m back to work, the monkey-mind is creeping back in just so I have the energy to get everything done. During the pandemic I could set the monkey loose, but now it’s riding my back because I don’t do drugs and I limit caffeine and sugar, so the energy needs to come from somewhere.

    Thanks for reminding me to recommit to my sitting time.

  2. Thanks, I really enjoy your insights, too. You give me a lot to think about both on and off the meditation cushion.

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