The “inner monkey” is a fictitious character that exists within every human being; we don’t have to be too self-aware to recognise it within ourselves. It is insecure and strives for protection, preservation and comfort.
The “inner monkey” when awakened can cause absolute chaos, drama and conflict. It continues to develop and grow throughout our life-span, as it gathers more life experience, information and evidence supporting its own personal view of life. These perceptions are your own views about your “self” based on the past.
These distorted personal views have been gathered creating an identity complete with: personality, strengths, weaknesses, education, interests, personal attributes, life-story. etc
The “inner monkey” believe’s certain situations/issues are threatening based on the past. It wants to control how you approach dealing with these challenging situations, in order to keep you “safe”. The “inner monkey” can tap reservoirs of emotional power in order to swing you around to its way of thinking.
As your body, thoughts and emotions are linked: situations from the past that produce an angry response, start with an angry thought or belief. The angry feeling in the body produces adrenaline and tension resulting in angry behaviours. This continues in a vicious cycle: more angry thoughts means more angry feelings and can cause angry behaviours.
The “inner monkey” however, may believe the solution to the whole dilemma is complete avoidance of the situation/person. In this way, the “inner monkey” keeps the fear alive by reacting to the perceived “dangerous situation”, as if it really was threatening. This behaviour of avoiding dealing with the situations promotes the idea of safety and comfort. It is another tactic used by the “inner monkey” to reinforce it’s primal need for self-preservation and survival.
There could be practical benefits to resolving the problem or dealing with the issue that caused the initial reaction.
The inner monkey’s believes resistance and tension is where your power lies; in actual fact it is the stress and tension that creates more entanglement. Complaining about your life situation only stresses the “inner-monkey” and this in turn weakens your real natural “self”. The reaction to the anger only cuts you off from source, your natural state of being.
Your “inner monkey” has a role to play in keeping you safe, it is just not helpful or reliable in making good decisions on all aspects of your whole life: however, faced by a violent criminal trying to grab your wallet, this extra burst of adrenaline provides a very much needed boost of energy useful for fighting or running away. It is this primitive instinct that could save your life one day, or maybe already has. It’s not all bad.
In order to prevent these patterns of negative thoughts and emotions ruling your inner state, awareness has to be cultivated in your mind. It is important to allow thoughts to come and go. I like the analogy of thoughts being compared to blowing bubbles, the bubble forming, expanding and then bursting. If you develop the alertness to just observe the thoughts in your mind, just like bubbles coming and going they will gradually lose power over you. The reaction to the stressful thought is what gives it power. Mindfulness trains your mind away from these reactive patterns of thinking, so you can feel the emotion as it arises in your consciousness; but gradually, slowly allowing it to disappear.