September | COGNITION
Article: Self-Sabotage and the Flying Monkeys
By Tricia Stewart Shiu
Ascendance – Lindsey Stirling
“The eternal silence of these infinite spaces, fills me with dread.” -Blaise Pascal, 17th Century French Mathematician
If a 17th Century, French Mathematician had feelings of dread about infinite spaces, then what hope is there for any of us, in the 21st Century?
The human mind contains mysteries and questions that even centuries cannot bridge.
Our brains are so incredibly powerful that perhaps, the fear is not, what knowledge we might gain through education and research, but, once we truly understand the infinitesimal nature of ourselves and the space around us, how to not be utterly terrified by it.
“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you.” -Leon Brown
“Feelings aren’t facts.” -Anonymous
ARTISTIC ALLEGORY | LE MOT JUSTE
“Your mind is a powerful thing.” -Gautama Buddha
“You are not your thoughts; You are the observer of your thoughts.” -Amit Ray
“That which consumes your mind, controls your thoughts.” -Anonymous
Try this: Sit down, close your eyes and slow your breathing.
Most likely, you will experience a flurry of thoughts and feelings, as your body and mind shift gears and slow down. After a bit, your mind will even out, then suddenly, the chatter will begin again. Sit long enough and you will experience the cycle of interruption, many times over.
Buddhists call that flurry, the “monkey mind.”
Harnessing the power of your thoughts and the brilliance contained within your infinite wisdom, is no small feat. Rest and calm is the best way to gain access to your thoughts and thread them together into a linear expression. But, your mind turning somersaults can create even more of a challenge.
It’s no wonder the ancients used the phrase “monkey mind” to explain the process of taming the consistent stream of thoughts that swing from synapse to synapse, as we attempt to calm ourselves, map out a plan of action or create a work of art. So the mind must learn to tame itself in order to accomplish anything.
Power or lack thereof, is the cause of so much struggle and strife, in the world, right now and that very struggle could hold the key to unlocking the circular prison of chaotic, looping thought and self-doubt that can occasionally occur within our thought process.
The feeling of power begins and ends within our own mind. So, it stands to reason that, although there could be outside influences that stand in the way of that which we wish to achieve out in the world. If we don’t believe it, it won’t happen.
Here’s the kicker, sometimes we do believe it and it still doesn’t happen. Why? Because we sabotage our thoughts or actions in any number of ways, like with: doubt, insecurity, fear, overthinking, procrastination and perfectionism.
Once mixed with our deepest desires, those internal blockers create a cocktail of confusion, chaos, and fear that can derail even the most thought out actions. Not to mention, when we finally share our ideas with the outside world.
So, let’s mention it.
Sometimes people derail others. They either miscommunicate, ignore or outright lie to make sure another person won’t get what they desire. It’s not right, it sucks, but it happens. Those events can cause us to lose footing and no matter what course of action we choose in response, the effort takes precious time and energy.
In a particularly perverse type of sabotage, other people are used to do the dirty work.
“Art imitates life and so it is with “Flying Monkeys.” The term was coined from the movie “The Wizard of Oz” in which the Wicked Witch dispatches monkeys to fly and get Dorothy and her dog,” says with Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC in her blog, “Exhausted Woman.” The monkeys obey her command, doing her dirty work for her, taunting and terrorizing Dorothy as she tries in vain to get back home.“
In real life, the art isn’t so pretty. Flying monkeys, in true to life reality, defend the saboteur to the bitter end.
That’s where thoughts come in. When it comes down to it, our thoughts and the actions that follow, are truly the only thing we can control.
Through the sensory experience of cognition, it is possible to grasp any number of concepts, process our thoughts and move forward with definitive action.
And so, we move from flying monkey to taming the monkey mind through the infinite spaces. Somewhere, out there, Blaise Pascal is smiling down on us.