Taking A Closer Look At Monkey Mind
Energy extended outward, when intentionally watching, it surges inward and dances in front of me.
The amount of energy produced inside of me exceeds the amount needed to function. It overwhelms me as it comes inside and slowly reduces. I feel the production of energy is too great, and it is apparent that it takes more energy production to be external than is necessary to function internally. It is as if the extraordinary amount of energy I feel desires to extend outwards to release itself. Yet, it seems the desire to reach outwards, in actuality, generates more energy and therefore creates an antithetical loop; exchanging the desire to expel with the reaching out to expel which by its nature, produces more and adds to what was already too much.
The mind reacts to a need for shaking off, letting out, dispelling the excessive production. This need is apparent when trying to bring the energy back in. The body feels restless and responds with a nauseous sensation, a sense of being too plugged in, and receiving too much energy. It is not the unwieldiness or the lack of self-control. It is the production of too much energy driven by habitual ways of being external rather than internal.
Every morning I wake up feeling a lot of energy, and a sense I need to get the day started with a kind of “go and do” feeling. At the beginning of this month, I decided I would add a yoga practice in the morning to expend all the excess energy I feel first thing upon waking. With so much energy in the morning, it seemed logical to do a series that focused on utilizing the excess I felt; backbends, headstands, chest openers, and standing poses. As I began, I sat down in Virasana and closed my eyes. As always, I could feel the movement of energy throughout my body, and as I quieted down, it made me feel dizzy, but I focused on my exhalations to calm my nervous system. As I began in Trikonasana, I quickly realized how unstable my body was. In 20 years of doing Trikonasana, I have never fallen over. That morning, before even bending at the waist while standing with my legs 4 ft apart, I fell over. I chuckled to myself, got back up and continued the hour practice. Through the entire sequence, every part of my body was shaky, and it seemed to get shakier as I went on. Because I practice Iyengar yoga, I hold poses for an extended amount of time, so it was not a fast-moving practice that accentuated excess shakes and wobbles. Even while doing a headstand, my legs were wobbly, and I noticed my stomach, as well as my jaw, were restless. I found it all intriguing and somewhat laughable. “Wow, I need this yoga in the morning,” I thought. The next morning came, and I had every intention of doing the same sequence. However, something pulled me during my invocation in Virasana that said, “no.” I started moving into forward bends, supported and reclining poses. I began to notice that my energy inside was becoming more focused, like a magnifying glass reflecting the sun into a single point. I was so surprised my instinct to “burn” the energy was so off target. The complete opposite approach has created clarity and a clear focus in my mind for the day.
The generation of energy from within the bodily organisms and the collaboration with mind energy produce a considerable amount more than needed and in return seeks external things, so it thinks, to expend itself. The jumping around of monkey mind is but a response to an overproduction of energy within the habit energies. It is not rampant or unwieldy it literally needs a place to expend.
I find as I begin to look at myself with curiosity questions naturally arise; what generates emotional energy, what generates physical, psychological or behavioral energy? How is the energy created and why does it take more to interact externally? Why and how is the overproduction generated? It seems these are questions with answers that are unique to each individual.
A few basics I have observed about myself and the generation of my energy:
- Fixing generates energy.
- Problems generate energy to solve.
- Grasping generates energy.
- Emotions generate energy.
- Thinking generates energy.
- Multi-tasking generates energy.
I have also observed within myself and others some simple things that minimize, uses less, or generate less energy within the human system.
- Acceptance is a literal minimization of energy. There is nothing to do at that moment, so there is no generation of additional energy.
- Listening takes less energy than talking.
- Meditation minimizes energy production.
It is an important observation and understanding to look at how we manage our energy supply and generation.
Meditation minimizes energy and creates clarity of thought because your body is not generating excess energy. You are sitting, generating minimal energy and the main energy needed is to fuel the process of sitting. Meditation slows down breathing, and it slows down mind energy so therefore your mind is not attempting to expel, release or find an output. In fact, all mindful practices are minimizing or managing your energy to the minimal amount necessary. Meditation also stops the cyclical nature of desire. The desire to extend outwards when you feel energetically overwhelmed which ultimately does not result in dispersing energy but rather generates additional amounts to manage.
This production of energy all seems scientifically basic yet unspoken. When we are upset, we sometimes start shaking (lots of energy), or people provide the tool, “take a deep breath,” (slowing down the energy production).
Responsibility for one’s own energy and the ability to watch the fluctuations allows a more even application of the actual energy personally created. It opens up the door to allow you to make conscious choices to honor and serve your well-being. When you are feeling restless or all “wound-up” I encourage you to experiment as I did. Try a “burn” style approach and observe how you physically respond and how it impacts your day. Try an observation approach utilizing yoga, walking or something that allows you to focus your attention on your body and curiously pay attention to how you interact with your day.
Don’t be afraid to look and watch yourself with curiosity. It is the looking that opens up your seeing in ways that expand the connection to yourself. And, I promise, there is no one you want to get to know and understand more than yourself. Remember, acceptance, non-resistance, and observing, are passive. Built into your nature, they support individual energy awareness. Utilizing them gives you an opportunity to learn how to generate or not over-generate energy and participate mindfully in the world.
(picture by Teddy Kelley)