The Monkey Is the Messenger (Paperback)

Meditation and What Your Busy Mind Is Trying to Tell You

By Ralph De La Rosa, Susan Piver (Foreword by)

Shambhala, 9781611805840, 288pp.

Publication Date: November 13, 2018

List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Hope for all those who want to meditate but feel they can't because they think too much.

“My mind is so busy, I really need to meditate.”

“My mind is so busy, there’s no way I can meditate.”

Familiar dilemma? These days just about all of us know we should be meditating, but that doesn’t make it any easier to sit down and face the repetitive thoughts careening around our brains—seemingly pointless, sometimes hurtful, nearly always hard to control. Rather than quitting meditation or trying to wall off the monkey mind, Ralph De La Rosa suggests asking yourself a question: If you were to stop demonizing your monkey mind, would it have anything to teach you? In a roundabout way, could repetitive thoughts be pointing us in the direction of personal—and even societal—transformation?

Poignant and entertaining, The Monkey Is the Messenger offers a range of evidence-based, somatic, and trauma-informed insights and practices drawn from De La Rosa’s study of neuroscience and psychology and his long practice of meditation and yoga. Here at last—a remedy for all those who want to meditate but suppose they can’t because they think too much.

About the Author

Ralph De La Rosa is a therapist, meditation teacher, storyteller, and musician. A graduate of Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Services, he is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) and incorporates Internal Family Systems therapy (IFS) alongside traditional psychotherapy in his work. He has been featured in numerous publications including GQ, SELF, Women’s Health, and Elephant Journal. He currently resides in New York City.

Praise For The Monkey Is the Messenger: Meditation and What Your Busy Mind Is Trying to Tell You

“With a rare authenticity, Ralph De La Rosa seamlessly blends trauma theory and neuroscience into the framework of Buddhism. Reading this work will be deeply healing for so many people. If you have ever felt a little broken, pick up this book—it’s the voice we all need to hear.”—Lodro Rinzler, author of The Buddha Walks into a Bar

“Smart and sure to benefit many. Ralph De La Rosa’s book lovingly reframes the parts of us we’d rather avoid, especially our busy and anxious minds, as energies calling us toward a deeper awareness. A very useful contribution to the conversation between Buddhist psychology and Western psychology.”—Ethan Nichtern, author of The Road Home

“Filled with humility and wit, curiosity and hope, this book offers those struggling against the currents of their own torment a path of least resistance back to the safe harbor of self-understanding and self-love.”—Dr. Miles Neale, author of Gradual Awakening

"Newcomers and readers familiar with meditation alike will enjoy De La Rosa’s compassionate perspective on the intersection of Buddhist practice and psychotherapy."—Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

“Everyone knows we should be meditating, but what if your thoughts just won’t shut up? Ralph De La Rosa draws on Buddhism, neuroscience and psychology to posit that instead of growing increasingly frustrated with these intrusive thoughts, we should accept them as a part of ourselves and use them as a tool to understand ourselves better.”—BookPage