Learning to quiet the jabbering monkeys

Via How To Hack Your To-Do List [Epipheo.TV] – YouTube

I’ve become an extremely task-oriented person over the years. It probably has everything to do with my progression in my adult life. I have a wicked type-A personality. This is evidenced by my enlistment into the USMC as a young buck. I enjoyed the structure of the military but I can’t say I wanted it as a career.

Over the years I’ve maintained the task-oriented lifestyle. Through my years in college, with sleepless nights and endless hours of clinical work for my then major of Athletic Training. Then onto my transition into management in the retail business. While brief and erratic my time as an assistant manager taught me how to budget my time and to budget tasks.

Eventually I leapfrogged into my now current  career of nursing. And nursing’s backbone is task-oriented productivity and responsibility. Couple my work as a nurse and my academic pursuits over the past 4 years to attain (in just 2 short months) my Masters degree and my life is nothing BUT task-oriented completion.

The problem is I can’t stop ‘thinking’ about tasks. I’m always wondering about the ‘next thing’ or ‘what else’ is there left to do. I never truly end up with that ‘completion’ feeling due to always in motion. 

I found a great description the other day while I was researching all-things about Yoga (yes, I’m interested in trying it). Yoga claims to ‘calm the monkey mind’. The monkey mind being:

The monkey mind (kapicitta) is a term sometimes used by the Buddha to describe THE AGITATED, EASILY DISTRACTED AND INCESSANTLY MOVING BEHAVIOUR OF ORDINARY HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS (Ja.III,148; V,445). Once he observed: ‘Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too, that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night.’ (S.II,95). Anyone who has spent even a little time observing his own mind and then watched a troop of monkeys will have to admit that this comparison is an accurate and not very flattering one. On another occasion the Buddha said that a person with uncontrolled craving ‘jumps from here to there like a monkey searching for fruit in the forest’ (Dhp.334). In contrast to this, the Buddha asked his disciples to train themselves so as to develop ‘a mind like a forest deer’ (miga bhūtena cetasā, M.I,450). Deer are particularly gentle creatures and always remain alert and aware no matter what they are doing.

MONKEY MIND, THE – A Guide to Buddhism A to Z http://j.mp/VYHw4c

I can identify with the concept. Ever try to go to sleep at night… and your brain just won’t shut off? Yeah, monkey mind. We all can relate.

Well, with my task-oriented lifestyle and my late-night ever-moving mind, I’m looking to eliminate the distraction and improve. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being task-oriented, but I think there is a better way to calm my mind at night. You see, I suffer from clinical insomnia. And I’m convince my monkey mind is part of my problem.

So the above short video clip just might  be the start to solving my problem. I’ve started to familiarize myself with David Allen and his GTD series. I’m hopeful I can find a better  balance between completing my life’s tasks and getting some decent sleep.

Links of interest:

‘Monkey Mind’: When Debilitating Anxiety Takes Over

Mind monkey



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