We all know the feeling; it's late at night when your body and eyes are begging for rest, yet the mind jumps from thought to thought. Like a crazed monkey swinging from anxiety to anticipation. Pausing to curiously wonder about a concept, idea or question. Perhaps your monkey mind screeches at you in fear, demanding to be fed, for desires to be fulfilled and to be distracted from life's harsh truths. It has you everywhere and anywhere but the present moment. Your current experience lost in the jungle of ego - the place in your mind dominated by I, ME, MINE.
The rational and reasonable part of your mind knows this is futile. Yet we seem powerless against the silly monkey jumping around inside our heads. What could possibly tame this wild beast? Despite wishing the ever moving monkey would just shut up and go away, we do in fact need the monkey mind. It is part of our nature, primal instinct to fight or flee, to know and discern, to understand and act.
Then, like a calm ocean, your breath begins to take over. Waves of deep inhales and exhales start to lap the shore, giving some focus to the scattered mind. Breathing deeply requires us to actively participate in our current experience. For there is nothing else. Worries for the past and future, completely inaccessible to us in this moment, are washed away. Cleansed by each full breath cycle. The internal chatter of the monkey mind can be replaced by focusing on our current experience, using the senses to explore each moment. Hear the sound of your breath as well as any other external sounds, feel the rise and fall of your belly and chest as each cycle passes through your body.
We can develop a healthy relationship with the wildness in us, the seemingly pointless worrying, shrieks and nonsense that go on inside our heads. By observing ourselves objectively, watching our thoughts and words. By practicing these things over and over again, in countless different situations until it's eventually integrated into our habits and behavior. Noticing patterns and habits within the mind. By using breath and our sensory perceptions we can reign in the egocentric beast, and tame and train it to our advantage.
The results? An inner equanimity that is not shaken or deeply disrupted anytime something goes wrong in life. When we're faced with challenges and uncertainty, it becomes our habit to take a deep breath, and calmly move forward with whatever is happening in our current experience. For the worries, challenges and fear of not knowing what's going to happen next is never going to cease, All we can do is take a deep breath, look into the eyes of the beast and surrender.