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The Secret to Mindfulness & Meditation

One of the first things I teach my clients about mindfulness and meditation is that our goal is not to stop thinking. It’s to not let the thoughts distract us from being in the present moment.

Everyone has thoughts while practicing. It would be unreasonable to expect all thinking to miraculously go away, even after years of meditation.

However, we can learn to not let those thoughts distract us. “Monkey mind” is a term often found in the mindfulness world, courtesy of Buddhism, which refers to the inability to quiet our mind due to its unsettled and restless nature.

Similar to monkeys jumping from tree branch to tree branch, so do our thoughts flit from one place to another. Always restless, indecisive, and inconstant.

We can tame this constant chatter of the mind by learning to let go of the distractions and quiet our mind through meditation. By sitting in silence, being present, focusing on our breath or another anchor point, we allow the “monkeys” in our mind to come down from the trees and take a nap!

As with all things, the more you practice, the easier it is to entice those monkeys down.

One great way to teach this concept, especially to children, is to use a snow globe. I shake up the globe and tell children that the mind is usually like this, with busy little thoughts all over the place. When we stay still and allow the mind to get quiet, all the thoughts settle down and the mind is clear.

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