I was recently on an elliptical machine in a hotel gym in downtown Indianapolis. As I started to work out, a slew of thoughts ensued. I looked out the window onto downtown Indy and said to myself: “I should really be outside instead.”
Then I thought about how I should be running harder, that an elliptical is too easy and it wouldn’t really be exercise. “What’s the point?” I said to myself.
Then I worried that if I did, in fact, switch to running harder, what if I got injured or got a heart murmur and then I wouldn’t be able to exercise at all!!
My brain was all in, overactive, trying to tell me all the ways that either my workout 1) wouldn’t be enough, or 2) wouldn’t be right, or 3) should be something else. I couldn’t win!
And this happens every time I go on a treadmill or begin any sort of exercise routine.
Does this happen to you?
For me, the good news is, this experience of my mind gives me a window into the way my monkey mind can work when I’m doing ANYTHING. Sometimes when it’s something more serious about my kids or work or life in general, I can start to really listen to all of those thoughts. But having the monkey mind happen around EXERCISE, gives me the insight that I don’t necessarily have to listen to all of these thoughts going by. I can just observe them. I can even laugh at them sometimes…they are so busy and incessant.
In the end, I decided to just keep working out and put on a video of a wonderfully meditative speaker. Then later, I went outside and walked.
So, my happy news is that now I more quickly recognize my bully brain. She’s only trying to help (I can thank her for trying to help me and then move on). For unless I’m in a jungle running from a tiger, I’m all set.
What’s your experience of monkey mind?
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