Monkey Mind Magic
The idea that happiness can be achieved by practicing mindfulness–living in the moment as much as possible–feels overwhelming to me. The pressure of remaining mindful all day is just too big of an ask from the Universe. My reasoning is simple–staying fully present is really, really, hard work. My very busy monkey mind is constantly swinging from tree to tree, grabbing bananas, pitching peels, sending texts, and generally having way too much fun thinking to sustain any kind of focused commitment to mindfulness. While I do appreciate the benefits that mindfulness can accrue–gratitude and stress release to name a few–being in the moment is a great place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
What I prefer to focus on is the supernatural skills we have all been gifted with as human beings: our strong intuition and our psychic abilities. These are the twin laser beams that open the portal to the benefits of mindfulness living. We have all experienced supernatural energy–it's called coincidence, chance, luck, gut feeling, synchronicity, miracles, magic, premonition, kismet, deja vu, the zone, bullsh**–whatever you prefer. It comes to us via colors, sounds, signs, feelings, connections, sensations, energy, dreams, and just knowing stuff.
It is all around us, and inside of us, and you can access it whenever you feel like it. We are constantly receiving signs and messages from the Universe–take them or leave them, it is available to all. I find that a practice of tapping into my intuition and psychic abilities provides me with a fascinating energy that enriches my everyday life. I often find myself in the zone, that heightened state of 'easy effort'. Joy and inner peace visit me on most days. I know that my spirit guides and angels are there to support and coach me, and that the Universe has my back. This energy flow feels like a magical kind of happiness to me.
‘Don't rehash the past or rehearse the future, just live each day with as much joy, curiosity, and grace as possible.’
Over time I have embraced a couple of practices that enable me to experience mindfulness in a way that yields tangible results. Process is fine, but at the end of the day, I like a decent product. As a result, I am more grounded, more conscious, and healthier overall. These 'payoffs' create a lovely kind of perpetual motion–I keep practicing because it really does make me happier.
Why is it important? Because it instantly accesses intuition, and intuition always knows what to do. See what a time saver this can be? Taking time to go into a trance is a very effective way to give monkey mind a little break, too. I've been practicing Transcendental Meditation once daily for over forty years; I consider it a personal power tool without equal. Just like the lint basket on a dryer, TM clears my monkey mind. Thoughts tumble ‘round and ‘round and ‘round until they finally settle on the screen, and then the debris is tossed. A lovely calm remains to guide decision-making, relieve stress, and reboot energy. There is no right way to meditate–experimenting with lots of options will serve best; perhaps begin with a simple sit for five minutes a day, adding a minute a day until it starts to feel like something. By definition, you can’t have a bad meditation; it’s a simple practice that thrives on commitment and consistency.
Buddha was asked 'What have you gained from meditation?' He replied ‘Nothing! However, let me tell you what I lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, and the fear of old age and death.'
2. Bikram Yoga
I've been enjoying this sequence of 26 poses in 106-degree heat for twenty years. I will be forever grateful to all of my teachers, especially Kelley Lyons, who showed me the light. Bikram Yoga is very grounding in this setting because the first step is to be my own best friend and let my monkey mind go: no complaining or self-criticism allowed. It's strenuous, it's hot, and I am staring into a mirror wearing a bikini. There is nowhere to hide during this solemn 90-minute ritual. I know it sounds just awful, but please try it—three times—and you will understand why it is so powerfully beneficial. There are shorter classes and hot pilates options, too. The body, mind, and spirit just loves to sweat; it's like hitting the refresh button at the cellular level each time I practice.
Writing to oneself each day is a beautiful way to grow the mind, articulate deep thoughts and desires, and practice gratitude. It's also a lot faster and cheaper than therapy. I write Morning Pages–two full pages of whatever spills out of my pencil. It is honest-to-god gobbledygook that is mostly indecipherable. All that matters is that the pencil keeps moving. My third page is for eight elements of daily gratitude, a spot for a few affirmations, a quick list of what I plan to do for self-care that day, and notes on magic moments. Some days make it impossible to write first thing, so I bring my journal along with me and scratch as I go. I have been doing this practice forever, and I simply can't imagine a day without it. Here's my set up for success: find a journal that sparks joy; set up the pages with dates; commit to showing up; start writing/scratching. If I can manage to just stay on the page, I am always amazed by what is illuminated.
I’d love to hear from you—feel free to send your comments to me.