The Monkey Mind
I was pretty excited when the River Safari was launched in Singapore which included some new species of animals not found in our local zoo.
I always find that the best practice for photography and testing of camera systems is taking photos of animals. It is always fun when you don’t know what to expect in terms of shooting conditions. The fast movements of the animals, the dim lighting conditions, the patience required since animals most probably won’t pose for you the way you want them to. There is always a sense of satisfaction when a shot is taken which portrays an emotional impact for the viewer.
There are many times when I lose myself in trying to take good shots of animals, being in the zone is what I like to call it. It really does feel good when one lives in the moment and remembers that the only time is now.
Living in the present moment is not a new concept, it is actually one of the main goals of meditation and spiritual training and has been practiced by many who seeks to attain inner peace.
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”
In Zen Buddhism, it is known as mindfulness.
Most of us lives in our head for the majority of our lives unaware of the things that are going on outside of us. What we really see is a representation of our own truth that is clouded by our beliefs from the way we are brought up. The mind is essentially like a garbage bin, it collects everything that we encounter in our lives and people and situations just keeps throwing different stuff into it whether we like it or not.
The thing is what kind of trash gets thrown into it can attract different kind of people and situations: different types of food in the bin will attract different types of pests.
To be conscious and mindful is to be aware of what goes into the mind and to create a space between the self and the thoughts. This way we can use the mind for what it is as a powerful tool, and not the other way round by letting the mind control us or making us think that we are the mind itself.
It is said that the mind works in a very predictable way because the majority of our thoughts today is carried over from what we think yesterday and so yesterday’s thoughts feeds today and we carry it to tomorrow which ends up in a vicious cycle. This is unconsciousness at its best. No wonder old habits are hard to break and the cycle we live through causes us to stay the way we are whether we like it or not.
The tendency for the mind to wander back into the past and to project into the future, which like a monkey who doesn’t stay still and jumps all over the place, is known as the monkey mind.
There really is no other way to live than to be in the present moment for the simple fact that there is nothing you can do to change the past nor anticipate the exact future you think you are going to have.
One of the key techniques of practicing mindfulness is to lose the concept of time. Time is a mind created event. When we detached from the concept of time, everything comes to a standstill in the present moment, eternity is experienced, from that space inner peace comes as a natural result.
In the natural world, animals do not practice the concept of time. Imagine if you are the first human being in the world and you start asking the flora and fauna millions of years ago, what time is it? Most probably they will laugh and say what do you mean? The time is now! Time is a man-made concept. It is useful as a tool so that it is convenient to run our lives.
We just have to be aware that time is an illusion, it doesn’t really exist. My time is different to yours as nobody knows how long they will live so the 24 hour cycle doesn’t apply equally to each of us.
There is something attractive and beautiful about people who lives in the moment. The main reason being that they usually have no judgement towards others. That is the main reason people are naturally attracted to children or dogs. They are simple and they live fully in the moment. When you look into their eyes, you have no need to hide for they have nothing against you. They don’t know your past nor do they understand your future. They just are and that innocence makes it easy for you to love them.
Think about the time when you first meet a total stranger. What judgement comes to mind about that person based on how he or she talks, looks or dress? The judgement will usually be something based on your experience with a similar type of person and based on how you deal with this past experience, you are likely to generalized and treat this stranger the same way. Based on this clouded vision, you will fail to see the truth about each unique experience and the people it brings. Everyone on the planet is different and you will fail to notice that when you are clouded by your own judgement.
There really is no other way to live than to be in the present moment for the simple fact that there is nothing we can do to change the past nor anticipate the exact future we think we are going to have. The next best thing to do is only for us to be fully in the moment, feel the joy and do the best we can. The only hope we have for a good future will be based on what we do in the now.
When we truly understand that, a sense of inner peace will start to build in our hearts.
There is only this moment. All fears and worries are things of the past and future. There is nothing to worry about in the now for right now life unfolds and the only thing we can do is enjoy the ride.
Mindfulness is just that, fully enjoying the ride in the now. We can be mindful when we are doing the dishes, washing the laundry, while eating or even when we are walking. For every action that we take, there is a chance to practice mindfulness and really feel every task that we are doing. Remove the judgement from the mind and start seeing things as it is. It might surprise you how much you have missed while living in the monkey brain.
So open our eyes, calm all the interior chatter, be in the moment, feel the peace and know that we are surrounded and taken care of by divine love.