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Monkey Thoughts


March 2023

When I was 22 years old, I came across a book called The Kuan Yin Oracle: The Voice of the Goddess of Compassion by Stephen Karcher. I’ve written about Kuan Yin and my childhood admiration for her in a previous article, and it’s perhaps no surprise that I was drawn to this book as soon as I spotted it.

The Kuan Yin Oracle includes Karcher’s interpretation of an ancient text containing 100 poems of the “Goddess of Compassion”. It reminds me of the Tarot, as it’s a divination method in which you ask for guidance, choose a symbol or number, and interpret the meaning of it. Like the Tarot, you are not limited to one question, and you can create various “spreads” for more in-depth guidance (such as the spread that refers to the Past, Present, Future, Summary and Overall Situation).

And in a similar way to using the Tarot, I found that some answers would pop out more than others for certain questions and that they were usually very relevant to what was being asked. One example was poem number 71, “Two Arrows One Bow”. The poem includes the line: “How can two arrows be shot from one bow?” followed by the guidance: “You must choose between two things. You cannot have both”.

Another statement that the poem includes is: “if you are always of two minds, you will live on a battlefield. Still the Monkey thoughts!”

Lately I’ve been reminded of the Oracle’s poem 71 particularly in relation to states of consciousness. For much of my life I’ve had the habit of staying stuck in my thoughts. Thinking is not necessarily a bad thing when it’s used for problem-solving, working out logistics, etc. But the type of thinking that becomes addictive and pulls us out of the present moment is not conducive to staying in touch with our intuition and leading an inspired life.

In the past, I’ve known it’s important not to indulge in thinking but haven’t really wanted to give it up. This year I’ve started to really notice the difference in my mental state when allowing my thinking to run wild, versus how I feel after shooing them away to just be in the here and now.

Now that I actually feel a greater desire for freedom from “monkey thoughts”, I’m no longer willing to tolerate the same level of incessant thinking as before. Sometimes I need to actively put a stop to it, such as by saying to an enticing thought that comes up when I’m trying to sleep, meditate, or be with someone: “No, you’re not allowed here. Thank you for dropping by, but you’re not welcome anymore.” It might sound silly but it works surprisingly well.

If you ever feel an addiction to thinking as I have and as many people do, perhaps consider the value of letting go of the monkey mind and being in your wiser, intuitive self instead.

As the oracle would say, “You cannot have both.”

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