What does a monkey typing aimlessly on a keyboard on the roof of a house have to do with curing depression? I had no idea how to answer this question at first. I was in the middle of my first ayahuasca ceremony and I suddenly was distracted by this typing monkey. As if the strange physical sensations from the South American plant mixture were not enough to deal with, now I had to entertain this monkey!
After spending a few hours under the healing influence of the plant, I began to recognize that this monkey was certainly there for a reason. He was trying to teach me something. Our modern lives are full of distraction. It often seems that distractions are inevitable and just part of the baggage that we accept with our busy lives, but choosing to focus our energy on distractions like television, negative stories on the news and other worries in life is ALWAYS a conscious decision. It can seem unconscious over time because we develop the habit of distracting ourselves just like we brush our teeth. The interesting thing about the monkey on the keyboard and distractions in general is that they go away if you stop paying attention to them. How many times have you fixated on a particular noise or visual distraction and it became overwhelmingly annoying, then you realized a few minutes later that it was gone? Such is the way of the typing monkey. For more stories about this monkey, check out Ayahuasca and Depression: The Clarity of Darkness.
My first ayahuasca ceremony did many things for me. It opened up deeply suppressed emotions that I had pushed down into the pit of my stomach and put them right in front of my face. It also cleaned me physically. To be certain, this ceremony was only the beginning of my healing process. It was a metaphysical kick in the butt telling me that distraction and dwelling on negative thoughts and emotions in unnecessary and counterproductive. I sometimes imagine how life might have been two centuries ago before the presence of modern technology and all its distractions. I have to stop and remind myself that distraction is nothing new. It has always been around, just in different forms. My challenge to you this week is this: find one unnecessary distraction in your life, think about how it prevents you from accomplishing more important things and then let it go. Just like a rotten bag of fruit that fills up your refrigerator, throw it away. If you feel a certain lightness or freedom come over you, do not hesitate to share it. It is our reason for being.