We All Have Monkey Mind
I’ve come to realize lately that our minds are very funny and relatively predictable entities. They have a funny way of speaking when not spoken to, and interjecting their opinions where they are not necessarily wanted. They also love to tell us to do things and act certain ways based on past experience and stimuli.
I have found that while striving to observe my thoughts every moment that I am conscious, there seems to be patterns running endlessly for different circumstances. They are definitely programs that are triggered by stimuli in the environment. Once they start, it’s hard to stop them, but it’s possible, and intriguing to watch unfold.
Take this situation:
You are online at a store, waiting to buy something. There are a few people in front of you, and you are kind of pressed for time, but generally in a good mood. You are just waiting, and looking around the shelves, when you notice that the person in front of you, a little old woman/man, is holding a few items, a receipt, and a checkbook…
Pause here and imagine this scenario, then read on…
Your might feel yourself getting a bit anxious, then begin looking around for another open register. You’ll size up the lines, look at how many items people on line are holding, maybe look at the people themselves, look at the clerk at the cashier, and start to time a move away from the line you’re on.
You might even get as far as moving lines and feeling aggravated. This is all in reaction to seeing the person in front of you holding a receipt, and taking into account their characteristics, making up a “story”, and reacting. Your mind has begun running a program. It’s telling you that based on what your eyes saw, this person is going to cause you to wait a long time while they attempt to price correct, return, or exchange an item, and will pay using the extra long process of check writing. They also might be hard of hearing and will need things explained to them a few times. You’re upset now, and this could cause some imbalance.
When you stand in the new line, you can’t help but watch the old line unfold to make sure that you are right. Then, all of a sudden, the person you got out of line for simply pays for the items, smiles, and leaves, while you now still have 2 people in front of you in the new line, and the person at the register needs a price check on an item that is not even in the computer inventory… rinse…repeat…
Now, that could have gone the way that you anticipated, and you could be cruising past the little old person doing a return while patting yourself on the back for “taking initiative”, but it didn’t… You were wrong, and are not stuck at the store longer than you would have been had you just stayed in line.
Of course, these mechanisms in our minds are useful in survival situations, but for everyday occurrences, they can be extremely misleading.
The truth is, you made a number of assumptions that turned out to be false based on “beliefs” and prejudices formed in your mind over years of experience. They are not indicative of the truth in every situation, but your mind doesn’t seem to know the difference. More than likely, you won’t even know when you are acting out one of these programs.
I have found it beneficial at times when I recognize this happening to gently thank my mind for the information, then wait to make a move, or dismiss it as the start of a program. In certain circumstances, we can all hit the escape button as a program is booting up. This can give us tremendous power of choice in our lives, and make us far less “robotic”. We might even begin to see the patterns, and begin to discern the useful ones from the crap… does that make any sense?