Some Tips To Help You Unwind Your Busy Monkey Mind

Most people believe relaxing activities are only done in the evenings, and should be grouped in categories, scheduled, or put in an evening “routine,” as if it’s simply another item to check off your “to-do” list.

The good news? You don’t have to wait until the evening to unwind and relax. In fact, you shouldn’t. You deserve to feel grounded in your center and a sense of peace all day, not for just a few hours at the end of your day. You shouldn’t have to, and you absolutely do not have to and mustn’t do so. It is time to do away with the philosophy that it is only safe to entertain the idea of relaxation at the very end of your day, after spending the large majority of your waking hours walking through the day scattered, stressed, anxious, drained, ungrounded and thrown about. You deserve more, and there’s a way to get there. There is a way to unwind that busy, chaotic monkey mind which owns most of your waking hours and is not aligned with your true nature, or the place deep within where stillness and serenity reside. 

Understandably, this may seem quite impossible once you’ve trained your body and mind to operate in a “go, go, go” mode without any sense of stillness.

The thing is though, you don’t have to take time off or become a monk … you can rest in stillness while doing the same things you’re currently doing — and an added bonus to the already amazing benefit of not living a frantic life is that everything you do will be of higher quality. I think you’ll find that all other aspects of life outside of work (relationships, health, etc.) will dramatically improve as a result.

So, here are some tips for unwinding that busy “monkey mind” not only in the evenings, but throughout the day too:

  • Start your day with a “mental dump.” Write out all the things you need to do in a notebook. This relieves a lot of stress, and by getting it all down on paper, you typically realize most of it is just mind made and you really only need to make one or two things your priorities. There is zero reason to even stress about the rest.
  • Every so often, ideally once an hour if you can, set aside as little as 3-5 minute blocks of times for stillness and silence throughout your day. Meditate or go outside and sit in nature or take a walk (which, of course, are also forms of meditation). This will help you return to your core and stay more rooted throughout the day. 
  • Engage in creative activity or “play”: Do something purely for the pleasure of doing it, do it just for fun, with no end goal in mind. An aside: unstructured time for “play” (an activity done purely for fun rather than to gain something from it), is said to be crucial to your creative process. So, if you’re an artist of any type and you’re feeling “blocked,” just keep this in mind. You might just need some unstructured time to enjoy whatever you feel like enjoying at any given moment without having to justify it.
  • Almost all articles on anxiety and insomnia suggest putting away all electronic devices or turning them off completely for the night. Though many of us may find this difficult given our heavy reliance on technology, it is crucial to shut your devices off before bed as they can reduce melatonin production.

If you have difficulty shutting your phone off entirely, you could try a few other remedies including using blue light filters on your devices, avoiding news outlets or anything that will get a rise out of you, and avoiding violent movies and shows before bed. 

And if you read at night, there is one thing that has helped me immensely —only read fiction, or less stimulating material. Avoid books and magazines that make you want to be more productive, stimulate new ideas prompting your mind to do anything but unwind, and instead just enjoy some good old fiction. Although it’s important to read and educate ourselves, I’ve found that stimulating my brain with this content before bed can reduce my sleep quality. 

Meditation is, of course, the number one most suggested method for taming the monkey mind. However, sitting still for someone with a scattered brain can be difficult. One method to troubleshoot this and not feel like you have to discipline yourself to ‘meditate for 20 minutes straight in the lotus position’ is to just sit down, close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. After all, you can do anything for 10 breaths, right?

The Takeaway

Whatever you do during your free time, savor the pleasure of the process rather than thinking of the end goal. In fact, who cares if you even reach the end goal? Who cares if you even have one? Let’s just go ahead and throw the whole idea of a goal in regards to this topic away … lest we wish to possibly defeat our purpose. 

What are your tips and life hacks for unwinding your monkey mind when it gets the best of you? 

How To Open The Doors Of Perception At Will Without Psychedelics

“The door to the soul is unlocked; you do not need to please the doorkeeper, the door in front of you is yours, intended for you,  and the doorkeeper obeys when spoken to.” -Robert Bly

What if you found out there was a key that would enable you to open and close your doors of perception at will, void of psychedelics? What if you found out you not only held the key, but you were the key? Would you unlock the doors, or keep them shut?

Well, you are the key, and whether or not you choose to enter through the doors is a choice that, although invisible, is life changing. You are the vehicle for the trip, consider this but a mere travel summary. And for a detailed itinerary?  Well, that can only be fetched by you -not the part of you reading this, but the altered dream state part of your consciousness that will travel beyond the doors of perception to the wildness of the world where there is a livingness to all things- as it can only be found in a place with exclusive access. A place where you can travel, but no one may follow -not even the conscious, waking state version of yourself scanning these very words.  

If you have experimented with psychedelics, you most likely know what it is like to sense the type of “livingness” to all things of which I speak. Even if you haven’t used psychedelics, though, you almost certainly have still experienced this same livingness to all things in the world around you to a noticeable degree at least once, but probably various times as a child -a moment where the world around you took on a shimmery glow, colours suddenly appeared brighter, sounds louder and clearer, physical sensations amplified and, most notably, you could FEEL the world around you.

I am not referring to the physical, touching type of feeling, but to the intangible, energy sense of feeling where you could almost feel the luminosity of the world around you within, and you and the luminous rested in harmony as if you were one. You were present, your perceptions altered, your senses heightened. In short,  your sensory gating channels opened to some degree, a process more commonly referred to as opening your doors of perception.  

Sensory Gating Explained: The Science Behind the Doors of Perception

The “doors of perception” are the part of our brain and central nervous system responsible for filtering input from all external stimuli, involving all of your senses -feeling (both physical and nonphysical), sight, sound, taste and smell. This process, known as “sensory gating,” enables us to decipher the difference between “me” and “not me.” Through sensory gating, we are able to manage and comprehend the constant stream of sensory data from the external environment. Without it, we would be unable to filter out what matters and what doesn’t, and all sensory data would touch us deeply and ultimately, we would become overstimulated and overwhelmed and go “crazy” -according to modern medicine, that is.

You see, many of the people who are now referred to as “schizophrenics” have wide sensory gating channels that they do not know how to close, causing an overload in stimulus.  In indigenous cultures, these people would have instead been called SHAMANS, and would have been taught how to control their doors of perception and open and close them as need be. There are ways to begin opening the doors of perception, or sensory gating channels, without using psychedelics. Of course, the experience will not be as intense or immediate, but nor will it be short lived.

Rather, by utilizing practices that help open your sensory gating channels to some degree by altering your state of consciousness, you learn to open the doors of perception into the metaphysical background of the world and continuously uncover deeper truths to yourself and the world around you. In essence, playing with the doors of perception in this manner, rather than through the use of mind altering substances, allows you to do more than have a life changing experience in which you see the deeper meanings to life for a brief period of time (i.e. a “trip”), but to change your life where every moment is an experience in a continuous journey into further, unexplored depths of life.

Listen to Aldous Huxley’s in depth description of the doors of perception, and the mechanisms through which the mind opens and closes them here

Hypnosis and Meditation

“ …those who have experimented with hypnosis find that, at a certain depth of trance, it happens not too infrequently that subjects, if they are left alone and not distracted, will become aware of an immanent serenity and goodness that is often associated with a perception of light and of spaces vast but not solitary.”(Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudon 99).”

Practicing hypnotherapy and/or meditation on a regular basis is an excellent way to begin dabbling into the metaphysical backgrounds of yourself and of the world by tapping into your subconscious, into otherwise ignored parts of your mind. These practices help open doors in the mind where things such as past traumas that are holding you back have remained imprisoned for years, desperately waiting for you to free them and thus yourself. Meditation and hypnotherapy are also great tools for getting in touch with your intuition, helping you to see the bigger picture of current problems, allowing you to focus on the deeper truths and lessons they withhold rather than getting trapped in the mundane surface details of your problems. In fact, when observed in this light, they eventually cease to be problems and are instead rendered avenues of inner exploration and growth. Here are some guided hypnosis and meditation sessions that may be of benefit.

 

The Sixth Sensory Channel: The Feeling Capacity

The 6th sensory channel, also known as the feeling capacity, refers to the ability of humans to feel, as opposed to touch. It refers to the invisible type of feeling, as opposed to the feeling sense of physical touch embodying the ingredients of the five senses of human beings. One is invisible and subjective, the other solely portrays the mostly objective experience of physical touching, of feeling the texture of a person or object. The feeling sense referring to the ability to feel the invisibles describes the feelings that stir within as we encounter various experiences in our day to day life, sometimes called a sixth sense, or the sixth sensory channel. To better understand the sixth sensory channel, consider the following example: you come home from work and ask your partner what’s wrong.

Nothing,” they brashly reply.

But, by the tone of their voice, you know nothing means everything, and that you better respond with something along the lines of, “please tell me what’s wrong,” unless you want to endure a silent dinner -one that also evokes a feeling sense, as the silence speaks volumes and is filled with tension, making you uneasy-  and sleep on the couch that night. Simply put, awakening to the feeling sense that is not often spoken of as it is not included in the five senses that we are taught we have, cultivates your feeling capacity, your ability to feel the invisible, unspoken and unseen meanings of situations, and of things both yourself and others do and say.

In order to develop your feeling capacity, pay attention to the way things feel. Interpret situations with your heart first, then your thoughts. For a deeper understanding of the sixth sensory channel and how you can begin  to reclaim your feeling sense, consider listening to this in this interview with Stephen Buhner.


Sources

http://www.hypnotherapycenter.com/art_mld.html

http://www.hypnos.co.uk/whitlark2.htm

http://realitysandwich.com/226580/stephen-harrod-buhner-on-reclaiming-your-feeling-sense-rewild-yourself-podcast/

http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/developing-your-sixth-sense.htm

‘Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm: Beyond the Doors of Perception into the Dreaming of Earth,’ by Stephen Harrod Buhner

‘The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell,” by Aldous Huxley

Yoga and Cannabis: A Controversial New Trend That’s Gaining Popularity

“Yoga and herb intake have been linked since ancient times. The yoga sutras, written in Sanskrit before the time of Christ, are considered the practice’s foundational text. The sutras list herbs as one of five methods to lift the veil of ignorance, or the barrier between the conscious and the unconscious.” [1]

While many people feel that cannabis and exercise go anything but hand-in-hand, there is an emerging group of individuals coming forward claiming that, for them, the two actually pair quite well. In fact, they go as far as to claim that practicing yoga and receiving the therapeutic benefits they so desperately need would be all but impossible without the relaxation and pain relieving qualities cannabis has to offer.

Accounting for a large majority of said individuals are those with painful physical conditions who desperately
need the therapeutic benefits of yoga but who are unable to receive them without cannabis, due to its immense pain relieving and overall relaxing qualities. Others who are adamant about the fact that cannabis use enhances their yoga experience are those who are so tense, stressed, or anxious that they are unable to practice yoga in a manner that provides all, if virtually any, of the full range of benefits the practice has to offer due to their inability to fully surrender and melt into the process.

Such individuals feel the relaxing properties of cannabis help them clear their heads, relieve physical and mental tension, eliminate racing thoughts, and center them in a way that enables their minds, bodies, and spirits to benefit far more from the practice than they otherwise would. Since cannabis calms overactive brain activity and greatly reduces tension, it is not the least bit surprising that people are finding it to be the centering remedy needed to allow them to surrender to the practice; essentially opening the gateway to the renewal and rejuvenation yoga brings, which so many are starving for in the fast paced, high-stressed society we currently live in.

Arguments Against the Use of Cannabis During Yoga Practice

Of course, not everyone is on board with the growing trend of combining cannabis and yoga, most notably those who consider themselves to be disciplined yogis who view yoga itself as a strict, structured discipline to achieve mastery over the body and mind. To those who oppose the use of cannabis during yoga practice for this reason, “marijuana use in this context may suggest that a person is dependent on the drug for that mastery.” Furthermore, they feel that “attending a class in this drug-induced state may not allow for a clear, tranquil mind.” [2]

Arguments for the Use of Cannabis During Yoga Practice

The subtler attainments come with birth or are attained through herbs, mantra, austerities or concentration. Cannabis use allows for a quieting of the outside world, and the ability to focus more totally on the interior process of meditation.

– Yogasutras 4.1 [3]

Although many people do not typically associate cannabis with exercise or any other productive activity, largely due to the “stoner” stereotype that casts people who use cannabis as unmotivated and lazy, the truth is that more stimulating strains of cannabis like sativa or sativa dominant ones can prove to be uplifting and motivating. Such strains may work to encourage productivity by providing users with smooth energy while simultaneously calming tension in the body and/or mind. These effects are especially beneficial for those with physical or mental conditions, such as chronic pain or severe anxiety, who would otherwise be rendered unable to participate in much needed therapeutic activities like yoga.

Final Conclusions on Cannabis and Yoga

In conclusion, while both sides hold validity in their own right, nothing in this world is black and white and there is rarely only one side to any given issue. So, what it comes down to, at least for those who are pro cannabis and yoga, is this: While it’s nice that many are able to engage in an activity like yoga, whose benefits are so broad in range and nature — positively affecting the mind, body, and soul to an immense degree — not everyone can be so lucky. For those who are not so lucky as a result of a debilitating physical or mental condition, they are at least lucky enough to have found something that enables them to practice yoga and improve their lives, which in this case happens to be in the form of cannabis.

Related CE Article: The Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Consider Not Smoking Weed On A Regular Basis

CE has also written many articles on the medicinal benefits on this plant in treating various diseases, from cancer to epilepsy. Please sift through the website and use the search bar if you’re looking for me!

REFERENCES:

  1. Winer, L. “A Yoga High With a Little Help.”. THE NEW YORK TIMES. Published December 5, 2012. Accessed March 2,2016 fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/fashion/marijuana-and-yoga-pairing-up-in-classes.html?_r=0.
  2. “Cannabis and Yoga: What You Need to Know.” HERB. Published May 2, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2016 from http://herb.co/2015/05/02/cannabis-and-yoga-what-you-need-to-know/
  3. HSU, J. “Getting High During Yoga is an Ancient Practice.” THIRDMONK. Accessed March 3 2016 from http://thirdmonk.net/knowledge/high-yoga-ancient-practice.html.