One early winter evening in Amsterdam, I took a walk to go visit someone I was very much in love with. (I was almost fifty at that time). I left my apartment in the southern part of the city, to cross the famous Vondel park and reach his apartment in the western part. I was feeling great, happy and longing to see him again. I was well on my way through the park, when suddenly a thought hit me:” Wow, it’s all dark and deserted, not a living soul because of the thick snow, it’s dangerous! What am I doing here?” And I almost panicked. As in terror-stricken. Just before the bomb of that thought could explode, I said quickly: “No thanks, not now” to that thought and managed to continue my walk as happy as before. Wow! That was really the moment that I understood the power of thoughts. And more importantly, the power of thought-control aka mindfulness.

Imagine that your thoughts are little monkeys. They want to dominate you, to ensure a complete protection. Their ways are not always very subtle, they don’t hesitate to throw insults at you, like rotten tomatoes, and threaten you with all kind of awful stuff. Their goal is to get you in line, and send you back to a dark cave, where you will be void any risk and safe. Safe, not happy. Happy is a relatively modern concept, this prehistoric part of our brain simply doesn’t know it. That’s why they are never stimulating…have you ever woken up in the morning, brushing your teeth in front of the mirror, with a thought like:” Oh my dear, you look absolutely stunning this morning! You are gorgeous!”  I haven’t. I notice my untidy hair, wrinkles, under chin but something positive?!

So how do I deal with them? I don’t argue with them, but treat them lovingly, like small children:” Thank you dear, maybe later” And I do give attention to that particular thought, as a follow-up, in a moment, later on, when it suits me.  And I can honestly say, the monkeys have calmed down a lot!

How are you getting along with your monkeys? Who’s in charge?