21 September 2017
How is your Monkey Mind?
Trying to catch Django’s attention is a daily battle. In training school we learned that dogs only possess seven “attention slots”. If these are full of exclusive attention to one or more stimuli, there is no space to add anything else. Basically this means that when you give your dog a trained command - e.g. "sit" - and he does not respond at all, it is in fact useless to get angry or keep repeating the same command in an ever louder voice. He is not being disobedient, as we tend to think - it is just that his seven slots are already full of attention to other stimuli.
Waiting patiently is the only solution. All of a sudden you will notice that a slot has freed up - you can literally see this happening. You need to seize this moment and fill the slot with your stimulus - like the sit command.
You can also see this happening to us, people. We let our attention be drawn to certain things, to the point of complete absorption. Think about the situation when you are watching an exciting movie or reading a compelling book. Social media and computer games can also fully grasp our attention and practically make us lose the notion of where we are. It is addictive and requires quite some willpower to aim our consciousness at the here and now again.
What makes us different from dogs - and other mammals - is that the same can happen to our thoughts and feelings. We can become completely absorbed by a vortex in our head, like some unwanted, babbling guest who is just sitting there. Buddha calls this the "Monkey Mind". He described the human mind as a place filled with drunken monkeys who are endlessly jumping around, shouting and screaming.
We all have a Monkey Mind, Buddha said, with scores of monkeys, all demanding attention. The fear monkey is the loudest of them all, he is constantly ringing the alarm bell, drawing our attention to things we should be wary of and to everything that can go wrong. We are used to heeding what these monkeys are shouting about, every time again, and we take it seriously. It makes us withdraw into our head and worry about things that happened in the past or that could possibly happen in the future.
Being aware about this process is a first big step. Instead of these feelings and thoughts 'having' you, you need to realise that it is you who 'has' these thoughts and feelings, and that you can look at them in a conscious way. And that you can opt to go along or not, to get absorbed by them or not, to let them go or not. This is the freedom you have as a person, and you can cultivate this.
If you recognise the endless babbling of your own inner monkey world and you want to take back control, then coaching is there to help. Contact me for a free sample session. I will try to catch Django's attention when you arrive, so he won't greet you too enthusiastically and ignore all my commands.
Ancient Wisdom as a vaccine
In De Standaard of 21 April (one of the major local newspapers) there was a beautiful article entitled "Art as a vaccine in the post-corona era". Why wait for that post-corona era? Yesterday the parable "This too shall pass" ended up in my mailbox.
28 April 2020
The invisible dog or how being hard headed does not pay off
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Humans excel in that. We somehow believe that if we keep trying harder we will ultimately succeed, even if we keep ending up with the same result, time and time again.
2 November 2018
From King of the Mountain to Swimming Champion
23 August 2018
What if email, mobile phones and social media did not exist?
12 July 2018
Don’t make change too complicated. Just begin.
14 June 2018
Why not take a mini-holiday
10 May 2018
Lost in deconstruction
"You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star" [Friedrich Nietzsche]
19 April 2018
How Dog had a breakthrough – a contemporary fable (part 2)
15 March 2018
How Cat & Dog should follow the example of Mouse, a contemporary fable
15 February 2018
Winter’s life lesson
21 November 2017
A juvenile delinquent dog or the price of adulthood
When we reach the age of adulthood we seem to have internalised all those responsibilities, expectations and limitations. As if the free creatures that we once were are forgotten.
18 January 2018
Lessons taught by wild geese
16 November 2017
Who is the King of Creation?
What if things were different from what we have always assumed? It can make you feel very unsafe to question your normal perspective. On the other hand it also offers incredible freedom and creativity to step outside the beaten track and become curious.
19 October 2017
From prey to predator and vice versa
From prey to predator and vice versa, the natural order put upside down. The animals themselves do not seem to be bothered by it - for sure Django isn’t, and the hens appear to find it quite normal to be on top of the food chain.
5 October 2017
The parable of the businessman and the fisherman
We always have a choice: do we listen to our sabotaging inner voices or do we opt for what we really want, like the fisherman?
24 August 2017
Mr Goldberg and his assumptions
It is worthwhile to take a closer look at the assumptions you have about the persons with whom you have a relationship. You could develop the habit to ask yourself if a certain assumption is really true. And what if it is not?
10 August 2017
Asking for help is something we struggle with and we will only ask when we have no other option. We believe that asking for help and putting ourselves in a vulnerable position is a sign of weakness. Asking for help creates a warm connection between the asker and the giver.
20 April 2017
What if ....?
What if you would use a different perspective to look at what you have always assumed to be the objective reality? Does objective reality as such even exist?
9 February 2017
Frieda just asks
Asking for help is something that is hard to do for a lot of us. Self-reliance and autonomy are highly respected in our individualistic society. Another aspect of asking for help is that we build up a 'debt' as it were, We also do not like to disturb others with our problems
18 February 2016