The mind can be your biggest asset or your biggest obstacle. In Chapter 7 of Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty strengthens that claim by mentioning Ernst Pöppel’s idea that the experiencing self does not remember events, and each moment of the experiencing self lasts just three seconds.1 There is so much power bottled up in your mind – so much that we can’t even hold it all.
Most of the time, the brain is not reacting to events in the world; it’s predicting what will happen next. These thoughts often manifest as fears, concerns, negativity, and stress. When we allow ourselves to continue on with these thought patterns without getting a handle on it, we allow negativity and stress to keep us in a cycle.
“Before I became a monk, my own mind stopped me from doing what I loved because it was too risky,” reflects Jay Shetty. In Chapter 7 of Think Like a Monk, he takes us on a journey through navigating the jungle of our minds and creating a better and more positive flow.
Our mind is great at keeping us from doing things we fear, preventing us from mending fences, and keeping us stuck in our ways based on our need to be right. Rarely do these thoughts and methods serve us.
“At the ashram, I learned something that has been crucial to curbing these dangerous, self-destructive thoughts,” writes Jay Shetty. He goes on to say he learned that just because he thought something didn’t make it who he was.
When we visualize the mind as a separate entity, we are able to work on our relationship to it. If we think about the interaction as a way to make a friend or negotiate peace with the enemy, we are able to change how we work with our mind and how we react to what happens in our mind.
Ask yourself how you act within your mind. Are you combative? Are you unwilling to engage? Are you stubborn?
“Most of us don’t know the history of this internal relationship because we’ve never taken the time to reflect on it,” writes Jay Shetty. In Chapter 7, he teaches readers how to turn their monkey mind into a monk mind. The monkey mind is childlike whereas the monk mind is adultlike.
“When something challenges us in some way, the childlike mind reacts immediately,”
Don’t be controlled by these automatic reactions. The childlike mind has its place and allows us our spontaneity, creativity and our ability to be dynamic, but we shouldn’t let this part of our minds control us or it could spell our downfall.
The adult mind reminds us to pause and take a look at the bigger picture. Then we can weigh what our reactions are and assess whether we are responding appropriately to the situation. When we frame inner conflict this way, we can see what we need to develop and where we need to focus for the greatest growth.
To finish Chapter 7 of Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty explores the mind, how to control it, and how best to achieve a state where both sides of our mind work together in harmony.