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Sunday, April 18, 2010

How to Make Monday Disappear Forever

A Hong Kong commuter arrives for work this morning

This morning I was traveling to work on the subway here in Hong Kong, and looked around at an all-too-common sight. As I looked up from my book, I saw the long, joyless faces of human beings being whisked off to the gas chambers. Either that, or they were facing Monday morning, something even worse. In fact, truth be told, judging by the facial expressions of commuters, most days are Mondays in Hong Kong, for most people. Something happened in recent Hong Kong history, whereby people traded the excitement of following their Bliss for the security of conformity and certainty. In short, they sold their souls for paychecks.

This is by no means a situation that is unique to Hong Kong. You can see the dreaded Monday look in many an eye in many a city right across the developed world. Hong Kong, however, is a little special, in that I’m sure that there was a special agreement made somewhere whereby Monday to Thursday were renamed. So now we have Monday, Monday 2, Monday 3 and and Monday 4. Then, Friday has been renamed “Saturday minus one.” and Sunday is now “Shit, here come Monday again!” They let Saturday stay Saturday, because they didn’t want any riots.

Now, here’s a little secret, one that has been suppressed by governments the world over (The Hong Kong government tried to stop this blog post from going ahead, but I have managed to sneak it in). And the secret is…

There is no such thing as Monday.

In fact, there is, at a certain level of mind, no such thing as time, at least not in the way we normally experience it. This special non-time time is called presence, and it is actually easy to achieve. All you have do is stop thinking, and bring the mind into the present, and into silence. Then the perception of time stops, and Monday disappears.

Though not easy, it is very simple. It only takes a few seconds, and anyone can do it. The reason that it is so difficult is that most people have bought the story of the mind. They have heard the Monday-to-Friday story so many times, that the world of imagination, abstraction and illusion appears real to them. Like a Shanghai woman clutching a new pair of red, brand-name high heels, once the ego has bought the lie, it will fight to the death to hang on to its prize.

Here are two techniques which will help bring you present. I recommend that you do them regularly, especially on Monday, when the ego starts moaning and groaning, -and that's what egos like doing best.

The first and simplest way to become present is the Five Breaths method. Whatever you are doing, stop, and allow your attention to focus upon the breath as it moves in and out of your nose. Close your eyes if you like. After as few as five focused breaths your mind will become silent, and you are in presence. Like I said,  simple.

The second method is The Oneness Technique. The spiritual teacher Leonard Jacobson taught this to me. Here presence is permitted by allowing yourself to become present “with that which is already present.” Virtually every non-human form on this planet is present. The simpler the object the better – best not to use a surrealist painting! Plants, books (close them first!), coffee cups, chairs, pencils and so on are great. Just stop and allow yourself to feel the presence of a tree, flower or pot plant. Animals and birds likewise exist in a state of presence. You can bring the mind to attention by observing them. As far as we humans go, children tend to be the most present. Without judgment, observe a child playing for a moment, and just allow the mind to become silent.

There is another popular way to deal with the ego and it's time obsession, and that is to take it out the back and start beating it with a large stick. You’ve probably tried it. The process begins with the thought “My ego is bad, I’ve got to get rid of this blasted thing. Now take that!”

If you haven’t tried that one, don’t bother. It doesn’t work. You can’t beat the ego, because the ego is “you”, at least an important part of you. The key is not elimination, but developing the right relationship with ego.

As you probably know, as soon as you try these presence techniques, the mind/ego will cut right back in. This will always happen. So, don’t try to beat it down. Just observe it for a while. Repeat the presence techniques, and over a period of time your relationship with the ego will shift. But you do have to be very determined. It has to be a priority, or none of this works.

For a little more on this, try the teachings of Leonard Jacobson. He’s one of my favourite teachers.

And remember, it’s not Monday. It’s now, and always will be!



  1. Great post! I remember those Mondays mornings when I taught Spanish to hormonal seventh graders. It was the pits and the entire year clarified my goals. I now knew what I DIDN'T want. So I wrote faster, spent more and more of my free time perfecting my novel.

    Your techniques here are terrific.

  2. As the Buddhists say, "not this, not that"! It's a pity more people don't follow their hearts. As I often say, there's a price to pay for it, and most people are willing to pay up.


  3. ...or not willing... another slip of the keyboard!

  4. Willing, not willing either way once the ego knows where to get off life's a lot more now.

  5. It's funny as in Cantonese they don't have Monday, Tuesday, etc., or equivalents. That is, they don't have names for the days of the week, but only numbers, day 1, day 2, etc! No wonder they look so miserable!

  6. Yes, that's right about the names of days - same for both Mandarin and Cantonese. However, I was just being facetious about re-naming the days of the week, as I'm sure you realise. I do feel for the ordinary people of Hong Kong. It is a tough place to live and work.

  7. I've been using your techniques with making friends with the ego. It works much better than trying to ignore or eliminate a part of ourselves that is as natural as any other part.

  8. Hi Nancy. Taming the ego is like trying to tame a lion. Better just to allow it its little space. That's not meant to imply we should just let it all go to hell, but that we need more loving self-discipline.

  9. Hi Nancy. Taming the ego is like trying to tame a lion. Better just to allow it its little space. That's not meant to imply we should just let it all go to hell, but that we need more loving self-discipline.

  10. Stumbled on your blog. I like what you're saying here. I used to be a Monday crazy freak. I'm over that now cause retirement fortunately makes it quite easy to be more accepting forgiving tolerant. So with my younger friends' freaky Mondays.... I just tell them to -- breathe. :-) :-)

  11. Welcome, Ellen. Yes, breathing is good advice! It's one of the first things that goes when we get stressed.

  12. Breath..... I like it!

  13. Great post! Thanks for sharing w/the LOA group! Please keep on sharing them w/us!