Traditional Buddhist doctrine is replete with references to “Monkey Mind” and for the purpose of this article I will frame the matter in an accurate Western analog as that tends to be more readily grasped by the majority.

One of the best examples I have found for assisting people in grasping, and subsequently confronting, the phenomena of Monkey Mind is that of sight. We do not “see” with our eyes. Our eyes are merely sensory input gathering devices of a highly specific nature. We see, literally, with our Mind. Our Mind organizes what is nothing more than detectable light of varying frequencies (genetically hardwired limitations) that we recognize and label, e.g., a chair.

Sit quietly for a few minutes, and then become aware of the stream of “inner talk” that runs near constant in the background. Our Mind seems to be perpetually engaged in a conversation with itself. Some experience a positive talk ongoing inner dialogue while others suffer under the burden of a bombardment of negative Self-Talk. Such is the Human Condition. This is Monkey Mind at play.

There is a wide and rich range of practices that address the phenomena of Monkey Mind and they differ more in terms of complexity than in actual outcome. In short, most, if not all, such practices tend to work to some degree. Having trained in quite a few such methods over the years I’ve come to prize a clean, direct approach more than the heavily ritualized and intricate practices.

Here is a simple and relatively fast acting technique for suspending Monkey Mind. Before I present the technique I suppose I should answer the unasked question “Why should I suspend my Mind’s inner dialogue?” There really is no right or wrong answer, however, I suggest that quieting Monkey Mind allows a person to experience the here and now absent an internal program overwrite. If nothing else, such a pause in the ordinary functioning of the Mind is typically found to be refreshing. Give it a try if you so desire.

Sit either in a chair or on the floor in a space where it is fairly quiet and you are not likely to be interrupted. If you choose a chair you will want your feet flat on the floor with your back held naturally straight, e.g., the natural curve of the spine presents without excess tension. If you prefer to sit on the floor then it is suggested you sit upon a small pillow with your legs crossed off the pillow. This will negate the strain many people experience when sitting on the floor.

Step 1: Take your right hand and place your palm over your lower abdomen. Your thumb will be facing up and your navel should be just above your first finger; thumb and fingers facing to the left.

Step 2: Place your left hand over your right. Your thumbs should inter-lock left inside of your right (left against your abdomen) and your right thumb on top.

Step 3: Gently press your lips together so that your mouth is closed and touch the tip of your tongue to the base of your upper gum line, e.g., just above where your top two teeth disappearr into your upper gum line.

Step 4: Close your eyes easily, do not clinch them shut, and allow your Mind to become accustomed to the dark.

Step 5: Become aware of the touch of your hands over your lower abdomen and relax for a couple of moments breathing however you prefer.

Step 6: When you are reasonably comfortable, inhale through your nostrils remaining aware of the gentle pressure on your lower abdomen.

a. You want to breath in drawing the breath all the way down to where your hands are positioned.
b. While inhaling do an internal (do not say out loud) count of “1 – 1000, 2 – 1000”.

Step 7: At the conclusion of the two count inhale suspend the breath, neither inhale nor exhale, and do an internal 4 count using the same approach as in Step 6 (b) above.

Step 8: After doing a suspended breathing 4 count exhale through your nose while conducting a 4 count. Use the same “1 – 1000, 2 – 1000 …” count system as above. The completed exhale constitutes 1 cycle.

Repeat as many cycles as you are comfortable with and cease immediately if the practice begins to cause any feelings of strain or effort. If you will do this for 10 minutes or so a day in a short amount of time you will begin to experience a very pleasant sense of calm.

You can revisit this practice whenever you have a few minutes and are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out by the day’s events. I tend to do it prior to retiring for the night as it serves as a way of dumping all the emotional garbage I’ve accumulated over the course of the day.

Author's Bio: 

Several years ago, I refined my practice of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) under the direct supervision of Richard McHugh, Ph.D., the first pure NLP Psychologist. I continue to follow Richard's "Mind with a Heart" path to this very day. For the past 40 plus years I have formally studied several traditions attributable to the Han or Hakka. Said systems are typically regarded as both esoteric and arcane, namely, Chi Kung (Nei Gung & Wai Jia). Regardless of characterization, my personal experience over the years firmly convinces me they work. I find them to be useful, productive and authentically holistic (Mind-Body-Spirit) systems. Furthermore, I first began using binaural beat brain wave entrainment protocols in the summer of 1974, shortly after reading Dr. Gerald Oster's article published in the late 1973 edition of The Scientific American. At the moment I am finishing up a MA in Education program and preparing to enter a MS in Psychology program. I remain forever the Student.