This technique helps bring about inner calm amid outer chaos, especially in group settings.

If one is honest, one sees oneself playing many roles in a group — trying to win, wanting approval, trying to control or dominate others, being envious, angry, or bored. Our mad monkey mind is just desperate to stay in the game. This exercise is designed to help you end all of the various roles that the monkey plays. You are not going to try to stop the monkey. Rather, you are going to watch it, and identify what it is saying or doing. When a certain thought comes into your mind such as, "Oh, I know a better joke," or "I’ll tell them the one about the man at the bar with the dog," all you have to do is silently notice — catch the monkey — identify its behavior, then silently state: "showing off." Do not try to stop the thought. Just watch as it fades. Eventually it may vanish completely.

  1. Locate yourself and Be Still. Take several deep breaths and relax. Slow everything down.
  2. This exercise is best done in a group. Become aware of your thoughts as you speak, or just watch the people in the group.
  3. Silently notice any compulsive reactions to what is occurring, whether it is seeking approval, trying to control or dominate, going along with group gossip, looking to shine, feeling jealous or envious, or trying to be witty.

Notice your mental attitude. When you feel you are about to act out any of the above compulsions, verbalize it to yourself silently. For example, if you feel the need for approval, watch the "approval monkey" and silently verbalize: "Bob, you want approval." Immediately stop and watch in silence. Or, if you feel critical, watch the "critical monkey" and silently verbalize: "Mary, you are being critical." Immediately stop and watch in silence.

True spiritual transformation liberates us from the limited life we know to the freedom of life eternal. Through the flowering of the subtle mind we become transformed and live in the perfume of the divine. — B.W.S.

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