The Monkey Whisperer
Cesar Milan (The dog whisperer) says the keys to a dog’s well being are Exercise, Discipline, and Affection in that order. It’s not much different for humans. I have been using this for my recovery for over two years and finding it extremely valuable for my spiritual growth, to stay centered, and the cornerstone of my Yoga teachings due to its simplicity. I have learned a lot from dogs. they are present, non-judgemental, and connective. Here is the human version as I use it and teach it.
This is the first and Most important thing. So much crazy energy can be dissipated with movement and exercise. Whenever I start telling myself stories and the monkey mind is strong I try to do something that gets my body moving. By getting out of my head and into my body I can dissipate some free energy and spread the leftover energy throughout my body. This lets me see a little clearer and be less reactive. I use movement to get INTO my body and not as an escape. Intention is very important here as excercise can be used as an avoidance tactic and just another addiction.
I describe full awareness as...
Awareness of breath (Breath control)
Awareness of sensations
Awareness of thoughts and stories.
Awareness or actual present moment happenings.
The discipline here would be practicing the pause to stay present in the moment, seeing actual happenings, and not to get carried away by the stories or feelings by learning to regulate my mind/body using breathing. I do this 1000 times a day and it’s only possible by learning how to pause.
(Affection) Connection-Love-Self love-Self compassion-Acceptance-Letting go:
Let whatever comes up flow through with compassion and care. Be present with your experience with loving kindness. Once I started to become fully aware of myself and started to see clearly the events that have made up my life. The people I hurt. The way I have acted. Pretending to be so cool, so tuff, so awesome, something other than my true self, all while inside feeling terrified, scared and lonely, I had to give myself a break and show myself some serious compassion. I did the best I could with the tools I was given. I am not my stories. I could breathe and let go and realize that to say I am a combination of stories is to deny that I am part of an infinite universe. That’s such a small box to be in. I can be okay with not knowing. I can be okay with just being. I don’t need to prove anything. Letting go even for tiny moments at a time can bring great relief and by pausing and doing it over and over you can avoid getting hooked into stories in the first place. Love yourself and be love. You are perfect just as you are. You are enough. It’s the natural order of things. You were meant to be.
Connection, Support, Community,
In order to fully emotionally develop, humans need connection. The kind that will support you through times of growth and let you make mistakes. Non-judgemental people that will not label you. People who will be honest with you about how your behaviors affect them so that you may learn better behaviors that aid in more connection. That means that they too must be on a path to being more in touch with themselves. In addition humans need connection in the form of play, and humor. This is also what I try to cultivate in my practices and teaching.