People with ADHD are quite familiar with the Buddhist concept on ‘monkey mind’. BJ Gallagher at the Huffington Post wrote a brief post titled Buddha: How to Tame Your Monkey Mind that explains more.
Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong.
Buddha showed his students how to meditate in order to tame the drunken monkeys in their minds. It’s useless to fight with the monkeys or to try to banish them from your mind because, as we all know, that which you resist persists. Instead, Buddha said, if you will spend some time each day in quiet meditation — simply calm your mind by focusing on your breathing or a simple mantra — you can, over time, tame the monkeys. They will grow more peaceful if you lovingly bring them into submission with a consistent practice of meditation.
That sounds so easy – “simply calm your mind by focusing on your breathing or a simple mantra.” For those with ADHD, it is not easy , but it can be done. I decided to try meditation and breathwork for one month to see how it worked for my specific brand of ADHD (combined). I was pleased and surprised to find that I could write coherently without taking my meds and my blood pressure dropped by over 20 points. All of this in just one month – the results began within one week. Check out this study - it had amazing results.
So, here’s a prescription for you from a non-doctor. Meditate in the morning and evening for 15-20 minutes. Keep a log or journal of objective measures you would like to monitor – blood pressure, mood, sleep, eating, energy level, attention/concentration, impulsivity and so on. Try it as an experiment – see if you notice changes. If you need more instruction, read more articles in the Mind/Body section of the blog. This article has links to some of the best CDs and downloads I’ve found: http://www.adultadhdhelp.net/2011/08/adult-adhd-behavior-modification-to-manage-symptoms-pt-ii/ .
Will you take the challenge? Twice a day for one month – 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. I am starting a new month today. Join me – and come back here to report on your progress. It will be our own online social experiment. You will see your monkey mind begin to shift as your practice changes your brain chemistry, building new neural pathways for those terribly important neurons to fire differently.
Check back here for an update and share your progress. Happy meditating!