Lee Kuan Yew was prime minister of Singapore from its founding in 1965 until 1990. As the father of modern-day Singapore, he is widely credited with creating a stable and prosperous first world nation in a third world region. Lee is a dominant fiqure in Singapore, even as he nears his eighty-seventh birthday and is “contemplating age, infirmity and loss.”
Speaking ”about the aches and pains of age and the solace of meditation” (New York Times, September 10, 2010), Lee related how he dealt with the challenge of life: “How do I comfort myself?” he asked. “Well, I say, ‘Life is just like that….The problem is to keep the monkey mind from running off into all kinds of thoughts. A certain tranquility settles over you. The day’s pressures and worries are pushed out. Then there’s less problem sleeping.’”
Ah, the ability to shut down the monkey mind, the continuous chatter in the back of the mind.
Or even better, direct that chatter in a positive direction, make it your best cheerleader, not your eviscerating critic. When the voice in your mind is your friend and coach, reinforcing you, cheering you on, bucking up your confidence, it is like getting a second wind. Just as some football fans strive to be so supportive, such a powerful force, they can become the “12th man” on the field, having your internal voice on your side can add to your strength as well.
“He who masters others is mighty, he who masters himself is mightier still.” – Sun Tzu
“The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.” – James Allen