Monkey mind

Two Buddhist monks came to a river with a strong current. A beautiful, young woman was sitting on the bank.


She asked the monks if they would help her cross. The first monk hesitated—they had taken a sacred vow to never touch a woman.


The second monk picked her up, crossed the river, and set her down.


The two monks continued on their way. The first monk was agitated, but didn’t say anything. An hour passed. Then three. Finally, the first monk said, “Why did you carry that woman? Don’t you remember our vow?”


The second monk replied, “I set down the woman hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?”


If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

-Lao Tzu


Be here now

Buddhists refer to constant mental chatter as “monkey mind”. It’s when your mind wanders instead of being present in the moment.


Researchers have found that most people’s minds are wandering for 30–50% of all activities (except sex).


Calm your mind by following the “Meditation” chapter in the “Daily habits” section of this book.


I was 30 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.

-Steven Pressfield


Monkey mind. (2021, March 5). Wikipedia.


Killingsworth MA, Gilbert DT. (2010). A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science. 330(6006): 932.


Cásedas L et al. (2020). Meditation and executive control: Discipline for our restless ‘monkey mind’? Ciencia Cognitiva. 14(2): 57–59.

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