Taming the Drunken Monkey by William L Mikulas

Publication Details

    Taming the Drunken Monkey by William L Mikulas
  • Author: William L Mikulas
  • Publisher: Llewellyn
  • Format: Paperback


There is something ironic about a culture like ours that bombards its citizens with an endless stream of visual and mental stimulation and simultaneously expects them to remain grounded and focussed enough to function properly.

There is little doubt that a great deal of the mental and psychological issues in our culture are born from such things as information-overload and chemical imbalances in the brain from food additives.

In fact, on a daily basis, every one faces a thousand and one stimuli—all of which trigger our neural networks in one way or another.

The antidote for this mental poisoning is not to be found within our Western, drug-dependent medical profession but within the natural therapies that are popular in the East.

Taming the Drunken Monkey by William L Mikulas PhD offers you the chance to understand your natural mechanisms that help you cope with the stress of daily life.

With an emphasis on the disciplines of mindfulness, meditation and breath-work, the author, who is well versed in both Western and Eastern psychology, presents you with a guide to becoming more focused in your approach to life’s challenges—to cut out the mental chatter and to live more in the Now.

Opening with a general look at these three main disciplines, the book starts by suggesting who, typically, might benefit from this approach to self-healing.

At Level I training, Mikulas pitches these insights to the novice. He recommends some basic tips to get you started. These include practical tips on where, when and how you, the initiate, begins your course of tuition.

Even at this early stage, you are recommended to expect improvements to your life just by using simple breathwork exercises.

At Level II, the author introduces you to the Buddhist concept of the ‘Drunken Monkey’—a malfunction of the mind where the reactive parts of your human brain dominate your thought processes.

At this stage, the author offers more advanced exercises for you to build upon the successes of those in Level 1.

The Warrior is welcomed into the equation at Level III. This is where you are invited to take a greater degree of control over your life by standing up to obstacles and difficulties.

Here, additional elements are introduced in to breath-work and concentration exercises.

At Level IV, you are now considered to be an Adept. You are expected to have heightened your responses and have increased your awareness of yourself and your world before moving into the next stage, Level V, where you become a Master.

Here, new concepts and principles are introduced. Concepts such as dream recollection and analysis, as well as advanced stages of meditation, such as the jhanas.

The book closes with a list of resources, a useful questionnaire and a glossary.


Anyone looking for a natural and sustainable approach to dealing with the stresses of modern life will find that Taming the Drunken Monkey offers a valuable insight into simple but powerful techniques for restoring a personal and spiritual sense of balance.

The structure of this book was clearly carefully considered. It offers you a progressive and developmental approach to moving through the advanced stages of practice.

At times, however, the book does seem a little cumbersome to read and has a tendency to repeatedly cover the same ground.

In the end, this led me to summize that it is more effective as a manual of instruction which you dip into and find the level that suits you best.

My primary criticism, however, is that I would liked to have seen a few illustrations so that the reader can get a firmer grasp on the various sitting and breathing techniques.

The exercises that are presented here are, however, excellent. They are presented in such a way that the reader can make good progress quite quickly.

Taming the Drunken Monkey makes you wonder why this stuff is not taught in schools. It will be of interest to anyone seeking a more balanced approach to life. Its philosophical insights will resonate with those seeking a spiritual context to this type of self-healing.