There is the feeling of being “Zen” — objective, collected, and calm. Then there is the opposite feeling. That opposite feeling is your inner chihuahua.
Staying emotionally keyed up over something a coworker, politician, or some random stranger said? That’s your inner chihuahua. Done everything you can to prepare for a future eventuality, but you’re still so busy thinking about it that you’re not able to focus on what you need to be doing now? That’s your inner chihuahua, too.
Everyone has an inner chihuahua. It’s important to know what it’s thinking. That primal instinct has a way of intuiting things that need to be addressed. Without it, we are capable of blinding ourselves with logic. Going through the same routine every day may seem like the safest choice intellectually, but if your inner chihuahua is nibbling a hole in your guts, or driving you to the same opiating shows / foods / mind-altering-substance every night, then it’s time to check your logic.
But never let that chihuahua take over completely. It’s a nervous, defensive, spiteful creature, and it shouldn’t be driving a car. Or in charge of how you interact with your loved ones.
Okay, maybe it’s not a chihuahua for everyone.
For me, it’s “my inner chihuahua”. For a buddy of mine, it’s a silly monkey. A lot of people, particularly meditation buffs, figure the Buddha was on to something when he called that inner demon the monkey mind. For Ciel Bergman, a mentor of mine in college, it was a sinister goddess out of humanity’s ancient past. She built an unsettling metal sculpture representing it in her studio, so that she could have something to look at when she needed to talk to it (artists are awesome.)
It’s telling that different people represent these instinctive forces with different symbols. “The monkey mind” generally refers to a tendency for the mind to flit from thing to thing. Ciel’s dark sculpture was about dread. My inner chihuahua is about summing all the details up into a general emotional state. These instincts vary between individuals, so it makes sense that what we call them varies. But in all cases, they are a mental undercurrent that can distract from a healthy life.
The human mind is a complex thing. Our intellect is our great strength. We can dig metal out of the earth and make flying vehicles out of it. Heck, we’ve even figured out ways to record our thoughts so that someone else can think them four thousand years later (I’m looking at you, Epic of Gilgamesh.)
But we also have that animal instinct. When we put a hand on something hot, we don’t need to have an intellectual grasp of thermodynamics…we instinctively take the hand away from the heat. Our inner chihuahuas / monkeys / whatever are aspects of the intuitive, instinctive parts of our minds. What they have to say can be pretty important. We just have to be careful not to let the chihuahua be in charge all the time.
The chihuahua photos are from Wikimedia Commons. Credits: