Friday, December 4, 2009

Go, monkey mind, go

I don't think I made up the term "monkey mind" myself. It refers, I've decided / read, to the magical quality of total innocence. Say, when you first learn to bowl and roll a strike because you're not hung up on your shoes or your form, or how crooked your pinkie has to get.

When you don't know it can't be done, in other words. There's a freedom there, before you get down to the nitty-gritty of "technique" and "precedent" and "details" and sometimes -- rarely, but it does happen -- you just ... do it.

Sometimes I'll be daydreaming and ideas will start circling like angry birds, wheeling and coming in so fast my head aches at the thought of writing them all down. I used to lunge for pen and paper, and scrawl incomprehensibilities like "Queen wall bricks" or "Lollipop paper -- semicolon not Tennyson!!!"

This was anti-monkey mind. True monkey mind just lets all those ideas slosh around for awhile -- overnight is best -- before plucking them out.

Other times I'll just forget. Monkey mind is not infallible; there's a reason it's not called Cyborg Mind.

But sometimes, if you can sneak up on a problem (e.g., "who's that bald guy, the lead singer of Genesis, who is NOT called Paul Simon even though that's all I can come up with"; or "how can I get this big meaning into this little sentence") and surprise it after not thinking about it ... you can trap it and figure it out. That's monkey mind.


Barbara said...

Trap your monkey mind yet? What actually happens when it's trapped and then let loose?

Peter S said...

I totally agree with this. Example: you drove your first run in the rally car much better than following runs, where you tried to NOT run off the road. Monkey mind also often figures out a problem correctly the first time, and Rational Mind comes along later and mucks it up.

You are close on the guy's name: his first name also has four letter, begins with P and ends with L. Go Monkey Mind!

S R Wood said...

You mean in the video game, right? Because I was MUCH better in real life. Thanks to my monkey costume.