Clean as a Whistle — Clean Mind  — Monkey Mind

Monkey Mind

If you’re like me you have a busy monkey mind. I can over-think as well as you although now I’m better because I work on myself and I know that a clear mind is paramount to me being who I am.

A distraction as clean as a whistle

Let me explain with an example. I’m working on something like my web site by making it neater Google loves it more and more something about SEO. I’ll be working away and an email will come through with a little sound which is clean as a whistle. This interrupts my train of thought and allows my monkey mind to step in so I go and look at the email. Of course, as soon as I do this I admonish myself, but it’s too late. My monkey mind took over my still mind.

We all do this, whether it’s looking at your phone, working on your computer, listening to the radio, or watching TV, we live in a busy ‘do it now’ world. And we love distractions!

But I know a clear, quiet mind is my basic ‘being’.That sound of an email coming through comes to me as clean as a whistle and it get’s in my way. If we examine that sound for what it is, all we hear is the sound and we react to it, with a thought. Then we do something, like read the email, look at Facebook etc.

You can create a clean mind

We don’t actually need to react like this because with a little practice you can change yourself.

Think about the sound. It’s there and then it’s done, it’s gone. A bird outside, for example. There’s the tweet and then it’s gone until the next tweet happens. You’re reaction to thoughts is the same. You hear a tweet, you become distracted and your thought goes to that distraction rather than what you were thinking about before the sound of the tweet.

Distractions make a monkey mind

I used to be able to have background music playing as I worked on my computer. I find it distracting now because it takes my mind off my current thoughts. When that happens I find the music frustrating. I don’t want frustration, I want that one and only thought and frustration dampens it.

We can’t give up out thoughts, that’s impossible. But what you can do is work towards the way humans were 300,000 years ago. Humans then just existed, they didn’t have all the distractions we have now, they just lived. They followed the days and seasons and had no reason to over-think anything because there was nothing to over-think.

Action Plan for a clean mind

Everyone is after a quick fix, that’s how we got into this mess. Your monkey mind very successfully wants you to grab the next quick fix. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.

You’re going to have to put something in place to help yourself and I have an idea of what you can do.

Tomorrow morning set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier than you normally get up. At the alarm time, hop out of bed and go to a quiet place and sit. Sit quietly, no phone, just the ambient sounds around you. Now listen. Listen to the sound of that car, the sound of that bird, and whatever other sounds are out there. Do nothing else, except breath and maybe scratch an itch.

Make a habit of this by doing it every day because it’s that simple and it’s a pre-curser to meditation.

After a couple of weeks you’ll find you hear more and you notice your monkey mind is becoming a clean mind.


Sitting on the Fence

Fortitude Valley Aikido a view from the floor
Fortitude Valley Aikido

People quite often say there are two sides to every argument. That sitting on the fence is a bad thing because you are not committed to either side. If the glass is not half full it must therefore be half empty.

Then imagine the view from the inside of that glass. Being small enough to be able to stand on the meniscus of that fluid. The glass at your back, the water looking like an ocean spreading away from you. The half empty glass towering above you and a weird giant figure that looks exactly like you starting down at you.

There is always more than one point of view, with many subtle shades in between. Just because you can not see it or comprehend it does not make you or it right or wrong it is just the limits of your own understanding and creativity.

Adversarial politics and the polarisation of thoughts and people is also not the way. To know yourself is to know the truth of it all. The glass is half full and half empty simultaneously. Both statements are both correct and also incorrect simultaneously. There is no glass or fence it is all just a metaphor to open your mind.

Passionately neutral and doing aikido on a metaphorical fence. Balance is harmony between two equal and opposing forces.

By Lee Hampson

No Enemy

Respect and love your enemy until there is no enemy at all

Sun Tzu states in The Art of War (Chapter 3) “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles;  If you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one;  If you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single battle.”  

At the moment we live in a time of relative peace.  In a country far removed from a long history of violence and hate.  That is not to say that it has never happened or will never happen but the great wars for the most part were fought away from our shores.  Human nature can often mean the strong dominate the weak.  The opinion of the masses out way the opinion of the individual.  Right and might.  Bully or be bullied.  

To paraphrase Koichi Tohei Sensei‘s rules for Aikido Disciplinants “The martial arts begin and ends with courtesy and Even a one inch worm has a half inch of spirit. Every man respects his own ego.  Do not, therefore, slight anyone, nor hurt his self respect.  Treat a man with respect, and he will respect you.”,  “The mountain does not laugh at the river because it is lowly, nor does the river speak ill of the mountain because it cannot move about.  Everyone has his own characteristics and gains his own position in life.”  Speaks directly about respecting the person in front of you.  Wether they are your mother, lover, friend or enemy they are so because of the journey you and they have taken.

The bully or the enemy is to be respected and loved and not feared.  Could you be someone else’s bully if circumstances are or were different?  Respect for yourself is allowing yourself not to be consumed by hatred and becoming the hated and is about forgiveness.  It is very difficult and violence and fear will always be a part of human existence.  Acceptance, respect and forgiveness are virtues to strive for.  Understanding yourself is the first battle and is the key to understanding others.   


Fortitude Valley Aikido Student Guide P17 by Lee Hampson