Confessions of a Monkey-Mind Chatter Brain

Monkey Mind ChatterIt will not be hard for those who were regular followers of Dare to Look, to believe that I am a victim of monkey-mind chatter.  And yes, all you grammarians and slaves to modern rules of engaging writing, I used a passive verb in my opening sentence.

The reason I used the passive “were” is because I have not posted enough to give anyone a chance to be a present tense follower. This is not because I don’t know the rules of creating a good blog. Over the past couple of years, I made a reasonable living advising others on how to do just that.  You know the rules: be consistent, post on a regular basis, engage followers, start a conversation.

This site “was” no raving success but I did have a rising Klout score and once had an article that outplaced both Amazon and Barnes and Noble in Google search rank. Should you have Monday brain fog and find yourself impressed by that accomplishment, stop it! Jeff Goins wisely points out the fleeting nature of all such endeavors in The Truth About Going Viral: What I Did After 1 Million People Stopped By My Blog.

So why has my writing been so past tense in cyber-land of late? Blame it on my monkey-chatter brain along with a touch of writing success. Steve Pressfield explains this monkey business in his little book, Do the Work:

I was thirty years old before I had an actual thought. Everything up till then was either what Buddhists call “monkey-mind” chatter or the reflexive regurgitation of whatever my parents or teachers said, or whatever I saw on the news or read in a book, or heard somebody rap about, hanging around the street corner. In this book, when I say “Don’t think,” what I mean is: don’t listen to the chatter. Pay no attention to those rambling, disjointed images and notions that drift across the movie screen of your mind. Those are not your thoughts. They are chatter. They are Resistance.

Pressfield further describes this idea of brain Resistance in a recent post to his web site. In that article, he explains that no one can talk you out of doing more things than you can. And, the bigger those things are the louder the resistance talk, monkey-mind chatter is.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Resistance’s strength is equal to the power of the Dream. Big Resistance = Big Dream. No Resistance = no dream.

So if you wake up tomorrow morning overwhelmed with fear, dread, and negative energy, that’s a good sign. The massive shadow that you’re experiencing is being cast by an equally massive tree—the tree of your dream, your vision, your calling.

Our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is Resistance. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/ shouldn’t/ won’t do what we know we need to do. – Resistance Comes Second      

Ironically, success can also become monkey-mind fodder if we are not careful. My four- month adventure into ghost writing followed by seven months of post-auto accident recovery have left me with a veritable monkey playground that I am in the process of cleaning out. How do I escape all this chatter and get on with the next thing before me? People who accomplish things give the same advice successful writers do. If you are through with a project (whatever it may be), the best thing you can do is forget about and start the next one – now.

So do you ever have a monkey-mind? The best advice I can give is to tell those simians to cool it and get going with whatever you need to write, say, do before their chatter drowns out the part of you that is ready to get on with it.

About the Author

Tim