Humor, Soul Homework

Monk Thinking

I’ve been reading Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty and I am enjoying it. Over the last few months, I’ve had the best luck with library books. My soul homework hasn’t let me down, that’s for sure.

In Jay’s book, he discusses the concept of monk mind vs. monkey mind. If you’re utilizing your monkey mind, for example, you’re overwhelmed by everything. But if you apply your monk mind, you will be focused on the root of it all.

If your monkey mind is in control, you complain, compare and criticize. When you channel your monk mind, on the other hand, you are compassionate, caring, and collaborative.

Are you getting what Jay is throwing down?

So I decided to do my own experiment and keep track of my complaints, criticisms, and comparisons for a week on my phone.

Let me lay the groundwork of what my week looked like before I expose myself.


On this particular week, I was undergoing a procedure to remove a polyp from the lining of my uterus. To the men in the room, this is just another wonderful “thing” about being a woman. Will someone, for the love of GOD, just take out my uterus already??

Oh wait, was that a complaint? CHECK.

I am gonna flunk this experiment.

Complaint #2– I was bitching to myself about how slow my old computer was loading so I could download old photographs.

It’s almost as if my old computer knows I betrayed her. Ohhhhhh.

Complaint #3– My husband’s snoring. There were numerous entries this week, but I didn’t count them all because I didn’t want to see on a screen how uncaring of a wife I am.

Complaint #4 and Comparison #1-I complained loudly to anyone who’d listen about how messy our pantry was. Then I compared it to a frat house.

This is ridiculous because I’ve never been inside a frat house and thus have no context, aside from the film Animal House. Second, I’d like to be recognized for including both a complaint and a comparison.

What? It’s not a contest? Oh wait, I’m doing this all wrong…

Comparison #2– (it’s about to get philosophical) I compared myself to others in terms of how I am not as negative as they are. However, the fact that I am making that comparison demonstrates that I am still negative.

Deep thoughts by Kari.

Complaint #5– I bitched to Mike about how the weeds are so out of control. By the NATURE PATH.

I need to defend myself a bit here. Biscuits was chewing every weed we encountered on a walk, and one of them had some black shit in it, and I was like, HOLY HELL DOG, HOW DO YOU FIND BLACK SHIT WEEDS?

Photo by Kindel Media on

Not THAT kind of weed, Pexels. This kind of weed:

They were higher than this and, of course, the park district was mowing them on this particular day. Weeds, for God sakes, are supposed to be here. IT’S NATURE. WEEDS EXISTED BEFORE I EXISTED. SMDH.

If I had weed weed, I wouldn’t have been complaining so much last week.

Complaint #6– I complained to no one about my email loading too slow on my new computer. Do you see a reoccurring theme here? No amount of soul homework will help me.

Criticism #1– Mike wanted to purchase a lime green polo shirt at a thrift store we were shopping at. He held it up and asked my opinion. I told him to look at the shirt he was wearing. Lime green polo. Is that a criticism or me lovingly teasing him? I plan to tell the story on a podcast as it’s better in the telling than in the writing. (I don’t fare well in either)

I’m sure there’s more, but I got caught up in my procedure and recovery and other stuff that I’ll have to talk about in a podcast or something because it’s too much to write about.

All kidding aside, I’m truly enjoying this book. If you’re looking for something to help you clear the cobwebs from your thought process, this is good. It’s already got me questioning myself and making changes.

Which of the three c’s is your biggest weakness: criticizing, complaining, or comparing?

60 thoughts on “Monk Thinking”

  1. I saw the title of this post in glancing and thought you were writing about Monk, the TV show. We’re currently watching it from the beginning so I might be primed [pun intended] to see monk and think that.

    In answer to your question: I don’t compare. I don’t complain, too often. I do criticize which isn’t always a bad thing. How else will there be any improvement if you don’t take the time to analyze and critique what’s going on? Maybe I’m missing the point here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never seen it! I have heard such good things about it. Should I watch it?

      I went back to the book and I realized I did the exercise wrong. For each criticism I thought, I was supposed to write ten good things about the person. The point was essentially to see that every human being is more good than bad.

      So as you can see, I flunked the assignment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Monk is delightful brain candy. We watched it when it first aired. We’re watching one episode a day, any more than that would be too much goofiness.

        I’m sure you can get a do-over on the assignment. Why not?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Most of the time, I do that naturally. My complaints are usually about actions, not people themselves. There are less than a handful of people about whom I could not list 10 things… 2 of them being my coworker and prior boss.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Same. I’m still trying to do it less. I known I’m viewed as a complainer in general, and rightly so. I tend to see it as convo, nothing more. Others do not.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. How have you read my blog all this time and just now noticed my mention of soul homework? And I think you’d do just fine. 😘

      I think your brand of complaining is the fun kind and yes, I invented fun complaining. Must be all that soul homework. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ugh I feel for you on the polyp removal… that was procedure #1 for me. I try so hard not to criticize but I know I still do. I am trying to keep it more internal though and not vent to everyone else around me; that way I seem more zen but I’m really not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually had that done years ago as well. Thankfully, I found out today that the biopsy was negative!

      You bring up a good point; you seem more zen but you are actually not. So you’re holding in your emotions to keep others happy. I understand that line of thinking. 😦


      1. I don’t think of it that way at all. I just don’t feel the need to add to all the negativity spewing out in the world. Most of what gets on my nerves is so short lived and doesn’t even matter an hour or two or 24 later so why bother? I’ve slowly been trying to retrain myself to be more positive and while it is definitely a struggle when I tend to be a more negative person not hearing my own negative thoughts spoken aloud helps me to turn then around in my head and let them go. I am definitely way more zen now than I was 5 or 10 years ago and hope that I can say that again in another 5 years. But I have been trying like crazy to limit all three of those C’s! It does work but it’s hard work to remind myself not to criticize, complain and compare.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s a great way to live! That’s exactly what I needed to learn. I call it mindfulness but basically living day to day or more in the moment.

        But you’re right, it is hard work. A lot of what we think of as negative is our ego lying to us. It’s so hard not to listen to that. I’m so happy for you that you’re able to work through that. ❤️😘


      1. I’m in the process of trying not to vent so much. I find it extremely challenging!! The thoughts are circling in my brain and no longer set free. Complaining was a way to dump them. I haven’t found a new process to release them from my thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So I have a process to vent that’s been helping me. I don’t like to give advice, so this isn’t advice, okay? I have a dime store notebook that I dump all of my horrible thoughts into whenever they come into my mind. I vent into this notebook whenever I need to. There’s no set time. It’s like going to the bathroom for your thoughts. When the notebook is full, I throw it out and get a new one. Or ceremoniously burn the notebook. That’s been very therapeutic. 😁


      3. That’s basically how I use my blog. But lately I’ve felt I uncomfortable venting here. Prob due to watching a couple other blogs turn into non-stop complaining.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Aww, I’m sorry you’ve felt that way. I hate hearing when others have trouble venting. It’s so good for you to get out those emotions. (Passes a spare dime store notebook across the table to you) 😘


      5. I think a lot of bloggers got away from the journal aspect of blogging…me included. But that’s exactly what a blog was intended to be. Vent away. Instead of making it private, maybe just take the comments away? 😂


  3. Ooooo. I must be a complainer bc my first thoughts were complaints! Me: People who criticize constantly are exhausting and I cannot deal with all the comparing – just live your own life already! *Cue fail horn sound effect*

    Seems like life (getting along with others, working, having a happy family) itself encourages abandoning those 3 c behaviors. Better to think positive, offer solutions not criticisms, be silent if you can’t be helpful, be grateful for what & who u have, compete only with yourself, etc. I’m curious if this resembles the monk dude’s advice?

    And I do agree there’s something to be said for *fun* complaining (and occasional *venting*). Only actual monks should strive to stop all complaining. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. YES. (Insert Debbie Downer noise)

      Yes, yes, yes!

      So I messed up the actual assignment. I should say that Jay didn’t give this assignment but rather was given this assignment as a monk in the ashram. But for every criticism of someone, they were told to think of 10 good things about that person. Essentially that every human is more good than bad. Now THAT is more monk-like. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I live with too many teens NOT to complain and criticize. Can I get an exemption?

    I don’t think I compare. I try to see the humor in situations that I would complain about so I can transfer my frustration into a laugh. Plus to quote Ally in a recent post . . . ‘some blogs just write themselves.’ Where would I be without a blog to vent or poke fun of or overstate?

    Love your weeds on a nature path complaint. I cannot get away with too much complaining because my kids will jump all over me. They like to tell me that middle aged white women are the angriest demographic. When do kids go back to college? That wasn’t a complaint. It was just a question.

    Love that you are on a great streak of good books.

    Liked by 1 person


      What’s funny is today was quite a Monday and I ended up complaining quite a bit. So my blog post ended up biting me in the ass anyway. I’m a work in progress. 😂


  5. Monk Kari makes me laugh.
    Also, Monkey Kari makes me laugh.
    DO you SEE a PATTERN here?
    Mike, we get it, you like LIME green and also, you might like to be SEEN.
    I suppose if I wrote down all my C’s, I’d know what I do more. I try not to criticize and I try not to compare and I also try not to complain. But if I had to put money on it, I’d say I compare more. And really, I’m doing all that comparing inside my head; me comparing my new body to my old body. Or, you know, my YOUNG body to my old body. I need to stop that because I’ll never go back to the old new body, I’m stuck with the new OLD body.
    Goodness. I’m wearing myself out just typing all of that.

    I don’t think you are doing anything wrong with the complaining, criticizing or comparing, Right? It’s human nature and you are a human. But of course, we all have things to work on and I love that you are continuing to work on Monk Kari.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I LOVE ME SOME MONKEYS. I see a pattern of laughter. When are you scheduling the blog party at your mountain house? No pressure.
      Oh, he loves to be the life of the party. I’m sure you already know this.
      I know this about you without meeting you IRL. You don’t seem like much of a complainer or a criticizer. Now a monkey? Maybe? 😉

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with either. It’s fun to see how much I do it though. Less than I used to, which is good. I’m headed in the right direction.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Progress, not perfection as that isn’t an obtainable goal; especially for us monkeys.
        Blog party? Can you imagine? I’d have to wear Depends to keep my clothing dry.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! I’ve been in a moody funk lately so I think I will give the complaint tracking a whirl. I find noticing what the monkey brain is playing on repeat is like a flashing arrow to what is really going on or needs attention. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve heard quite a bit about monkey mind, but haven’t heard much about monk mind. I definitely find myself complaining, but it 100% stems comes from being overly critical. (Enneagram Type One over here.) Without the criticism, I wouldn’t have the complaining so those two must definitely be linked.

    Thank you for sharing your vulnerabilities with us.

    I saw in a comment above that the biopsy was negative and I’m so happy to hear that! I hope you’re healing quickly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never done the Enneagram Type, I’ve wanted to try that. My monkey mind used to be swinging allllll over my mind. It’s getting much better. As I say over and over, a work in progress.

      Thank you for letting me share them. I love this safe space.

      Yes! I just found out on Monday morning. I am feeling great! Thank you! 🙂


  8. Looks like an interesting book! I’ll see if my library has it. I’m in the middle of reading a book my therapist recommended – Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind (How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Fear & Worry) by Jennifer Shannon. Learning a lot – and putting it into practice – so far! Criticizing is probably my biggest weakness of the three Cs, followed by complaining. I’m OK with comparing until I get on social media!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know…when I first saw the name of your post and the book, I laughed.
        I wouldn’t be surprised if your library doesn’t have the book I recommended. I checked several libraries around here and none had it. I had to order from Amazon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Does your library do interlibrary loans? My library never has any of the books I’m looking for, so they have to order them from other libraries. Just a tip for next time so you don’t have to pay for a book.

        Although, I do love this book and I’m thinking of ordering it to refer to it from time to time.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Complain! I think I’ve pretty well “mastered” the other two. I stopped comparing (myself to others anyway) quite a while ago. Pretty much the only thing I’m critical of is myself. I guess my soul homework is acting in a way that makes positive self-talk more natural than negative. And I guess I have monkey mind quite often, especially now when trying to deal with so many things in my life that are out of my control but the outcome and timing of which will have a major impact on the direction of my life from here. See, that’s a complaint!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I, too, struggle with complaining. So I needed this exercise because it made me realized exactly how much I was complaining. Did I stop complaining? No way, LOL. But it’s good to know I need to work on that in myself.

      I used to have a monkey mind 24/7. My monkey mind would wake me in the middle of the night! Being on an anti-depressant and knowing how to meditate has helped.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You know, I think when I started taking anti-depressants was when I was able to quiet my monkey mind a little!

    I also listened to some of Jay Shetty’s podcasts after reading this post. He seems a little like one of those celebrity guru types, like Oprah and Deepak Chopra and others she has interviewed. That doesn’t mean that any and all of them don’t have something worthwhile to say or teach us. As far as Mr. Shetty, I think his relative youth makes some of his suggestions less palatable to old retired me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank goodness for antidepressants. When I started taking them, it felt like the clouds parted a little. I still have bad days, but I wouldn’t be able to handle everything we’re going through right now as well as I am without them, LOL.

      If I had discovered Jay Shetty before reading his book, I would never have read his book because of his internet presence. But the book just struck a chord with me. So I completely understand how you feel about him.

      Liked by 1 person

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