Monkey Mind is described by Wikipedia as a Buddhist term meaning "unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconsistent; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable." It is often used as a psychological metaphor for the chattering conversations in our mind hosted by "the Committee" .... conversations that often results in feelings of worry or anxiety. It is the left side of our brain that likes to justify our participation in these discussions; the part of our mind that likes to figure things out, solve problems, and wants to know the outcome so that we can be best prepared and survive whatever chaos is approaching. It makes good sense to figure out how to handle situations, except sometimes this pattern grows dominant to the point where it interferes with our serenity, creating disharmony, imbalance, and dis-ease. A line from the Indigo Girls comes to mind: "You can stand there and agonize till your agony's your heaviest load." Our attempted solution has become the problem.
Monkeys often provide perfect imagery for the foibles of humans. Stories tell of catching monkeys by putting food in narrow mouthed jars that are anchored to trees. The monkey puts his hand in the container and grabs the food, and because he won't let go and his closed fist cannot exit through the mouth of the jar, he is captured. How like our mind when it will not let go of a troublesome idea; we hold ourselves prisoner.
It is the letting go that frees the monkey and frees the mind. Letting go of attachment doesn't mean that we give up or quit striving for our goals. It means that we choose to be okay with the reality of what is, that we relinquish our need for there to be a specific outcome, and instead trust that all things unfold in perfect divine order. It means trusting that "the will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you", as a friend recently quoted to me. This is not an easy practice. I often find myself with my hand in the jar holding onto something that I desperately want, that I want right now. And I am captured, deprived of emotional freedom by my own thoughts.
So I relinquish my monkey mind by focusing on what brings joy into my life. I choose to inhibit worry and redirect my attention to what makes me happy. I go to the beach, talk to someone I love, do yoga, practice gratitude, dig in the garden, knit, read, listen to music.... If that is not enough to secure the return of my emotional freedom, I know techniques that will shift my energetic vibrations, and if I cannot do it on my own I know people I can ask to help me. And then sometimes...... I remind myself of the house that I really wanted to buy when I moved back to Florida, the one I was sad not to get because I was second bidder and the first bidder bought it...... the house that was destroyed by hurricanes five months later. And I remember to add to my gratitude list that I don't always get what I want.