The “Monkey Mind” and Insomnia

My “monkey mind” is harassing me again so that I cannot sleep. I am so full of chatter.  And I do like my “chatter” but to have any meaning it has to find the primordial silence that is its Source. And I sure appear to be fearful of this Source even though I so often affirm my faith and confidence in it/Him/Her.

I recently read Jiddu Krishnamurti for the first time, a blog-o-sphere friend having recommended Freedom from the Known to me. This book so eloquently presents what I would call a Presence as encompassing the whole of life. As I read this incredibly insightful and powerful book, I am amazed at how it resonates with me on some level and I even suspect that I have some unconscious memory of having known this Presence in my early childhood and yearn to go back there. I think that probably I did know that Presence but discovered that I lived in a world where “chatter” predominated and opted for the validation that it offered.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from Krishnamurti that really grabbed me:

You are never alone because you are full of all the memories, all the conditioning, all the mutterings of yesterday; your mind is never clear of all the rubbish it has accumulated. To be alone you must die to the past. When you are alone, totally alone, not belonging to any family, any nation, any culture, any particular continent, there is that sense of being an outsider. The man who is completely alone in this way is innocent and it is this innocency that frees the mind from sorrow.

We carry about with us the burden of what thousands of people have said and the memories of all our misfortunes. To abandon all that totally is to be alone, and the mind that is alone is not only innocent but young – not in time or age, but young, innocent, alive at whatever age – and only such a mind can see that which is truth and that which is not measurable by words.

I do not think that Krishnamurti felt that we could or should purge our minds of accumulated memories. His concern was the attachment to these memories, this “accumulated rubbish,” an attachment which keeps us from being able to “be alone” in the sense of being autonomous.

But note what T. S. Eliot said in The Four Quartets on the issue of attachment and detachment and the oblique relevance of death to the issue:

There are three conditions which often look alike
Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow:
Attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment
From self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference
Which resembles the others as death resembles life,



5 thoughts on “The “Monkey Mind” and Insomnia

    1. literary lew Post author

      Oh, well that’s easy. Tonite, given that I work with the kiddies tomorrow, I will take a trazadone and sleep like a baby! But, most of the time I try to meditate and that has helped in the past. It is not working well right now. That bitch “monkey mind” is feeling the duress and is throwing all of its forces my way!


  1. jeglatter

    Like this very much. Making peace in the monkey mind by watching those thoughts until the allure of having emotion attached to them somehow fades…For me it really feels like such an active process sometimes meaning when meditation hasn’t helped I have had to go out and get help to see how I am holding on to the pesky patterns…almost always though I think it has been a wave I am better for for riding. When those patterns go and all the newness comes in….heaven on Earth…and finally sleep.:) -Jennifer



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