So Mote It Be.
Taming Monkey Mind in Meditation
We all have the endless chattering and noise in our head often referred to as the monkey mind.
It’s been called the monkey mind – the endless chattering in your head as you jump in your mind from thought to thought while you daydream, analyze your relationships, or worry over the future. Eventually, you start to feel like your thoughts are spinning in circles and you’re left totally confused.
One way to tame this wild creature in your head is through meditation – although the paradox is that when you clear your mind for meditation you actually invite the monkey in your mind to play. This is when you are given the opportunity to tame this mental beast by moving beyond thought – to become aware of a thought rather than thinking a thought. The difference is subtle, but significant. When you are aware of your thoughts, you can let your thoughts rise and float away without letting them pull you in different directions. Being able to concentrate is one of the tools that allows you to slow down your thought process and focus on observing your thoughts.
To develop your concentration, you may want to start by focusing on the breath while you meditate. Whenever your monkey mind starts acting up, observe your thoughts and then return your focus to your breath. Some breathing meditations call on you to focus on the rise and fall of the breath through the abdomen, while others have you concentrate on the sound of the breath. Fire can also be mesmerizing, and focusing on a candle flame is another useful tool for harnessing the mind. Keep the gaze soft and unfocused while observing the color, shape, and movement of the flame, and try not to blink. Close your eyes when you feel the need and continue watching the flame in your head. Chanting, devotional singing, and mantras also still the mind. However you choose to tame the monkey mind, do so with firm kindness. The next time the chattering arises, notice it and then allow it to go away. With practice, your monkey mind will become quiet and so will you.
Mastering the element Water…
1- Make a list of things which have the combined qualities of being cool and
moist. Practice this for one week. Be sure to record the results each day in
your magickal diary.
2- Remove your clothes and enter a bath or pool where the water is cool. If you
have access to a lake or river, this would be best. Also, it would be good if
you could get a swimming snorkel so that you can breathe while completely
submerged beneath the surface of the water. Obviously, this would be difficult
to do in a small bath tub or in a shallow pool, but if you have access to a
snorkel and have a place where you can be totally submerged, you will have the
quickest success. Once you are submerged as much as possible, and if you are
completely submerged, breathing comfortably through the snorkel, do the
relaxation ritual. Next, become very aware of your breath. As you do this
you will find that your breath will automatically slow down. Notice the way the
air feels as it comes in through the nose, down the air pipe and into the lungs.
Feel this. Once again, imagine that your body is nothing more then an enormous
breathing apparatus. If you experience any sort of “drowning sensation”, stop
immediately and try again later. You should do this exercise for one week.
3- Spend a period of up to three minutes (no more), once a day, imagining that
you are the element Water. Feel the fluidity, the coolness, the refreshing
moisture of the elemental waters. Know what water feels like, what water is. Do
this for one week.
4- Once you have learned to “be Water”, the next step is to control the element
Water. Take a moment and imagine yourself to be Water. Bring the feeling from
the previous exercise into your consciousness. Next, hold your hands 9-12 inches
apart, palms facing each other. Imagine a bottle or box between your hands. Now, as you exhale, visualize all of the Water element which is in you going out with your breath and into the container between your hands. Three to five breaths should be enough to fill it. Then, with three breaths, inhale it back into you and go back to normal consciousness.
The next time you feel hard headed, overly tense, or like you muscles are hard
as a rock, do this exercise. If you feel relaxed and reasonable, you have succeeded with the test AND with mastering the element Water.
How To Meditate
The purpose of meditation is to stop thinking for a time, wait for the fog of thought to thin, and glimpse the spirit within. Controlling the flood of thoughts is very difficult for most people. Beginners can sometimes become very frustrated, but frustration is just another thought, another emotion that gets in the way. The goal is to release all thoughts, quietly, passively.
A common way to begin meditation is to gently focus on one thing so that it becomes more difficult for stray thoughts to enter your mind. I like to start with a breathing meditation.
To begin meditation, find a comfortable position. Sit in a comfortable chair, with your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands in your lap with the palms facing upward. Close your eyes and begin witnessing your breath. Observe the inflow and outflow of your breath without attempting to control it in any way. You may find that your breathing spontaneously gets faster or slower, deeper or shallower, and may even pause for a time. Observe the changes without resistance or anticipation. Whenever your attention drifts away from your breath to a sound in the environment, or a sensation in your body, or a thought in your mind, gently return your awareness to your breathing.
This is the basic mediation. Once a person becomes comfortable with simply sitting quietly and focusing on breathing, I recommend adding a mantra, which creates a mental environment that will allow you to expand your consciousness.