We Will Surely Meet the Monkey
Excerpted from Turning Confusion into Clarity: A Guide to the Foundation Practices of Tibetan Buddhism by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, ©2014:
In private interviews, I hear about problems with family members, partners, and employers. When you listen, the problems sound so small. But if you think about that problem again and again, it gets bigger and bigger. Making a mountain out of a molehill is the monkey’s specialty. This is the nature of the restless monkey-mind. Generally we do not observe the mind itself, so this encounter with the monkey can be confusing. But actually we are beginning to recognize awareness and all the thoughts, feelings, and impulses that are constantly moving through it. If people come to meditation in order to get rid of thoughts, this encounter with the monkey-mind might be disheartening. But we do not have to get rid of the monkey-mind. Ignoring this thought-factory never works, and suppressing it is impossible. But we can befriend it. How do we do this? By hanging around. We’re not aggressive. We do not try to conquer or control our new friend, but if we want to get to know its qualities, we have to stay present for the encounter. When we begin to meditate, no matter what style or tradition we follow, we will surely meet the monkey. But with awareness meditation, we give the monkey a constructive job to do.