Those who have tried to sit silently for a few moments are hit by one disturbing fact — that the mind cannot be silenced if and when they want to. The mind has its own rhythm and enjoys unrestrained freedom when the body is passive. This is very frustrating and a big blow to the ego that our mind is not within our control. But this is not all — this is a symptom of a deeper malady. The Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys — jumping around, screeching, chattering, moving endlessly. We all have monkey minds, the Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamouring for attention. For instance, fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, unnecessarily. All meditation practices are born to tether these drunken monkeys everybody carries within. The rational mind cannot understand these monkeys because it is part of their tribe. The way to tackle it is to follow Osho’s insights perhaps.
Osho suggests — the best thing would be to stop struggling with yourself — you will never win this battle. Use three keys that can help you understand this mind: “To forbid is to attract, to refuse is to invite, to prevent is to tempt.” For instance, you earnestly feel that you don’t want to be angry — but the anger comes like a monkey. You don’t want to be sexual — and the sex appears like a monkey and gets a grip on your being. You don’t want greed, you don’t want ego — and they all jump on you. But whatever you want — spirituality, religiousness, enlightenment — does not seem to come. So approach the mind indirectly, not directly.
The second thing to remember is that do not have any ideas about how the mind should behave. With a positive attitude, watch whatsoever appears in the mind without making any choices and without any judgments. Go within like an explorer entering a dark cave with a lamp in his hand. In this way, you will begin to see what the mind is. Drop all the feelings of conflict and struggle — just create a loving atmosphere of wanting to know, to understand. A person fighting with his anger and trying to escape from it will be obsessed with anger all his life. He can never be free from it. Only a person who is interested in knowing his anger face-to-face and not fighting it will become free of it.
Sceptics often ask, is there a scientific base for the ancient belief that meditation can silence the mind? Yes, in the age of advanced neuroscientific studies, this can be proved in the labs. Alice G. Walton has tried to explain this in Forbes magazine, “One of the most interesting studies in the last few years, carried out at Yale University, found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN) — the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts — a.k.a. the ‘monkey mind’. The DMN is ‘on’ or active when we’re not thinking about anything in particular — when our minds are just wandering from thought to thought… Several studies have shown that meditation, through its quieting effect on the DMN, appears to do just this. And even when the mind does start to wander, because of the new connections that form, meditators are better at snapping back out of it.”
Slowly, the monkeys will settle down because in the light of awareness you will find that the monkeys were nothing but shadows on the wall....