Monkey Mind

In Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, she mentioned how we humans often burden ourselves with what Buddhists call the “monkey mind”. We busy ourselves with “thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl”.

Gilbert went on,

“The problem is the emotional attachment that goes along with the thinking. Happy thoughts make me happy, but—whoop!—how quickly I swing again into obsessive worry, blowing the mood; and then it’s the remembrance of an angry moment and I start to get hot and pissed off all over again; and then my mind decides it might be a good time to start feeling sorry for itself, and loneliness follows promptly. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.


The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought is that you are never where you are. You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in the moment. It’s something like the habit of my dear friend Susan, who–whenever she sees a beautiful place–exclaims in near panic, “It’s so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!” and it takes all of my persuasive powers to try to convince that she is already here.

All it takes is for us to be in the presence, to be in the now. So go say it out loud,

I am here. I am in the moment. I have my ‘what is’ and here is my ‘now’. That is what matters.

Liz Gilbert, I hate you make so much sense in life.

Here is your inevitability.

“You may have misery, you may lose hope in the sorrow of an unplanned life but as long as you have faith and trust in adoration, in affection, in love, that sorrow will turn to happiness. And that is a constant, dear.”
“No one can know sincere happiness, Sophie, without first having known sorrow. One can never appreciate the enormity and rareness of such a fiery bliss without seeing misery, however unfair that may be.
“And you will know honest happiness. Of that I am certain. Certain because it’s why you are here and also because here is your inevitability.”

Excerpt from the book Vain by Fisher Amelie

It’s the what if, the what then?

Because there is the creeping fear that these moments don’t actually exist outside your own head. No eyes meet a crowded room, no two people think precisely the same thing, and if one person actually has that moment, is it even really a moment at all?

We know this, so we say nothing. We avert our eyes, or pretend to be looking for change, we hope the other person will take the initiative, because we don’t want to risk losing this feeling of excitement and possibilities and lust. It’s too perfect. That little second of hope is worth something, possibly forever, as we lie on our deathbeds, surrounded by our children, and our grandchildren, and our great grandchildren, and we can’t help but quickly give one last selfish, dying thought to what could have happened if we’d actually said hello to that girl in that Uggs selling CDs outside Nando’s seventy four years earlier.

It’s the what if? the what then? and we know that if we go for it, if we risk it, we immediately stand to lose it. But really, some part of us believes the feeling is two-way, because it must be; it’s too special not to be. We believe that something’s been shared, even if the evidence we have is… what? A look that lasted a breath longer than we’re used to? A second glance, when the glance could easily have been to check whether there are any cabs coming, or whether the jacket we’re wearing that’s caught their eye would look good on their boyfriend, or why it is we seem to be staring at them.

This has captured into words everything that I thought I was the only one feeling. I thought I was crazy, and I was wrong to even doubt myself for feeling all of it, because a feeling actually exists and Danny Wallace affirmed it for me.

(Excerpt taken from On Charlotte Street, 144-145)

From Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace

There’s a stock phrase I’m used to hearing on soaps or in bars, if I’m eavesdropping. One person looks at the other and says, all serious like, ‘Things change. People change.’

They’ll accentuate the people so that we know they’re talking about ‘people’ and then they’ll leave a pause after they’ve said it so you can see just how very serious they are.

I think things do change, of course. But in my experience, I think often things change because people don’t.

page 106

Review: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a classic story that has been common knowledge for some and for a great lot of years that it graces most of the ‘books to read before you die’ list scattered all over the web. To be honest, I was clueless on what this story is about until the movie. I watched the movie without the knowledge that Gatsby is a person. I apologize, but if for anything, I watched the movie with fresh eyes.

Out of a 10, I’ll give it a 7.5. I would say it’s not so bad, but since Leo diCaprio is in this film, you can say it’s not one of his best. The level of expectation for Leonardo THECaprio is clearly up in the sky, so I wouldn’t be surprised that he didn’t win an Oscar for this. It’s a huge factor that Leo has already done so many characters that whenever he changes emotions, I see his past characters in my head. When he loses his temper, I see his character in Shutter Island. When he had a scene in the swimming pool, I suddenly remember Jack in Titanic… but older. Moreover, I don’t have an idea how Mr. Gatsby is portrayed in the book so I can’t judge if he has done justice to the character. One thing remains though, he is gorgeous and it is hard not to get lost in those bright blue eyes.

So what did I like about this film?

  • The soundtrack! It is phenomenal!!! I can’t believe it’s possible for most of my favorite artists to join in one album. With tracks from Florence + the Machine, Lana del Rey, The xx, Sia, Gotye, not forgetting JayZ and Beyonce and more, I am totally sold on the idea. There is actually a party scene where the people of the 20s era go wild to JayZ’s tunes. I don’t know for some, but I really loved it.
  • The colorful costumes and the extravagant setting! The landscape in Gatsby’s house is insane. I loved their wild and vivid interpretation of the 20s-30s.
  • Carey Mulligan! She was amazing, even if I hated her character, Daisy, with a passion.
  • Joel Edgerton, who played Tom Buchanan, or Daisy’s husband. He played it so well, I was so drawn to the character. I am now a fan.
  • This is also the first time I am seeing Tobey Maguire in a film after Spiderman 3, so I was excited and happy that he did well as Nick Carraway.

I just really hate stories where the bad guys don’t get what they deserve in the end, so I went out of the cinema sad and pissed. The moment the credits rolled up, I just want to read the book immediately. There were a lot of times that I found myself mesmerized with the character’s lines that truly struck me terribly. I should really spare some time to read the book.

All in all, it was worth it. My cousin’s 7 pounds didn’t go to waste. It was a lovely treat.

The Quiet

“When you learn to quiet your mind, you learn to leave all concerns behind, and your wandering thoughts and feelings that normally control you begin to lose their power. You simply watch them come and go. Emotions and anxieties and other frantic states fade away and become benign and distant. This momentary freedom becomes the only thing that matters. And it feels physically and spiritually liberating.”

You will love this article from Jim Paredes, a Filipino writer who continues to inspire me in writing and in life. It’s titled Retreating to Silence which you can read here.