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The Monkey Mind

Jeremy Lipkowitz | 2:42

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Welcome to day four. Over the last few days, we've been practicing with mindful breathing. And yesterday, we learned how to come back to the breath when the mind wanders away. In today's lesson, we're going to be talking about how to improve our concentration in staying with the breath. And this is a technique known as labeling. So what we're going to do today is learn about the practice of labeling the breath.

Now, as I mentioned yesterday, when the mind starts to wander, it doesn't mean anything's going wrong. This is just what the mind does. It thinks about the past, it wanders into the future goes all over the place. In Buddhism, this is something that they call the monkey mind, in the sense that the mind is always jumping around from branch to branch and from tree to tree, and it never seems to slow down.

So this is the monkey mind. In meditation, what we want to do is learn how to work with the monkey mind. So instead of trying to force the monkey to stay put and not jump around, we can actually give that monkey something to do. And this is the technique of labeling or using a short mantra or short phrase that we repeat in our mind. So what this is going to look like is as you breathe in, you can just say quietly in your mind rising and feel the belly rising.

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