If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the thoughts, distractions, and worries that run around in your head, you’ve experienced what Buddhists call the “Monkey Mind.” Though Buddhism’s primary goal is not to cure you of your monkey mind, its practices, specifically, mindfulness, can help you become far more aware of the monkey in your head and with enough practice, learn to live with it.
- There are 488–535 million followers worldwide
- Founded by Gautama Buddha around 500 BC
- According to legend, Buddha was a prince who rejected the life of wealth and nobility for the life of an ascetic, ultimately deciding that the path to enlightenment lies somewhere in between
- Buddhist philosophy begins with The Four Noble Truths, which says that suffering exists, it has its roots in cravings and ignorance, and that there is a way out of suffering.
- Mindfulness is not simply a stress-reduction technique, as the Silicon Valley crowd thinks it is, but rather a tool to achieve nirvana. It’s a way to understand that there aren’t any narratives or a true “future,” simply a series of present moments that can only be experienced
This is a great reference, even if you’re a not a dummy.
This is a novel loosely based on the life of the Buddha. Excellent for getting a sense for what Buddhism is all about.
In a Modern World...
Modernity is constantly telling us to “do something” to become more productive. There are countless articles about productivity systems and fancy software applications that will block out internet sites and other techniques that promise to help you get things done in a timely manner. Our “do something” mentality exacerbates our monkey minds that constantly need a fix.
Buddhism, on the other hand, seems intent on observing the monkey and making note of its behavior, trying to understand why it moves from shiny objects to bananas and back to shiny objects again.
My 30 Day Experiment
My Practice: Meditating for at least 15 minutes per day