Here’s a friendly reminder that everyone has one of these little gremlins blabbing away inside their heads. Yes, everyone. And this little (sometimes big) voice actually has a purpose.
In Buddhism, this is often referred to as your “monkey mind”. It comes from the idea of a monkey jumping from tree to tree, like your mind hopping from thought to thought: inconsistent, indecisive, reactive, and restless.
The human brain has been evolving for millions of years. So if this little voice in your head won’t shut up, it probably has something to say. You might just need to read between the lines.
This voice inside your head loves a good story. And it is a total sucker for drama. And if it feels that there isn’t enough going on, it will happily craft a masterpiece of its own. And it is so good at telling stories sometimes you forget they are fiction or inflated truths.
Question the narrative that is going on in your head.
If the story doesn’t serve you, let it go. Keep yourself busy. Go to new places and meet new people. Read books, watch movies, and go see concerts. Expose yourself to culture and ideas that don’t exist between your own two ears. Go outside. When you are focused and living in the moment, this voice fades away.
Yoga was created as a tool to focus, calm down, and quiet the mind prior to meditation. Your mind and your breath are closely correlated, so by directing your focus to taking calm, deep breaths you can simultaneously calm your mind. Your body is meant to move, and your mind is the one that makes sure that happens. If you don’t give yourself the movement you need, your mind will grow agitated and chatter away. This monkey loves to have fun, and life should be a balance of work and play. This voice is an important reminder that life shouldn’t be taken too seriously, and that you should be making time for fun, in whatever form that may be for you.
This little munchkin knows your mind better than anyone else, as it is, in fact, part of your mind. It knows your weakest spots and with just uttering one sentence what will cripple you or torment you. But it also knows the things that you love, and knows you better than anyone else. And it wants you to have those things. Sometimes listening to the weak points it targets though can help you identify what you need to work on the most, and what is holding you back from getting to where you want to be.
Sometimes this voice will talk but you do not have to listen. You are not your thoughts and feelings, allow those things to come and go.
Talk to yourself like you talk to your friends. If you wouldn’t say it to someone you care about, don’t say it to yourself. You deserve patience and kindness. If you wouldn’t tolerate it from someone else, don’t tolerate it from yourself.
We all have some negative thought patterns that we spiral into. Your brain works like a corn field, with pathways that are walked regularly being the ones that are the easiest and the most automatic to go down. But they may not be beneficial for bringing you to where you want to go. There are usually certain queues that tell you that you are starting down that path, so figure out what those signs are so you can stop yourself before you venture too far. Forging a new path is difficult at first, but like the old ones it will become easier with time and eventually something you do not have to think about doing.
Like a toddler, it may throw a tantrum the first time you say no, but it secretly wants to know the rules and will eventually happily follow them if they are clear and consistent. Make it obvious to your mind that if you set out to do something, you will achieve it. And once you establish this, instead of tempting you with alternatives, it will assist you in reaching those goals. It can start out with little things, like telling yourself you will go to the gym at a certain time or that you will resist eating that extra cookie. Once you can diligently follow through, move on to bigger things. This voice will help keep you on track and subtly remind you what needs to happen to get you to where you want to go.
“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” — Eckhart Tolle
I hope you learn to be friends with the voice in your head, and grow to love and embrace the inner workings of your mind. When you are in harmony with yourself, you can achieve great things.