Hello HE Peoples
Do you ever feel like your mind just wont shut up? This happens to me, more so in the morning.
The mental chatter kicks off, sometimes singing a song on an apparent loop of just one phrase, then maybe switching to what I plan to do during the day. Then there are the self doubts, worries and regrets about what I have not achieved. And the comparing where I am in my life to where I think I should be at this stage in my life.
The mental chatter usually subsides, but often I feel that what it ‘talks’ about remains throughout the day as a sort of background hum. A hum that can tinge all I do with a slight degree of negativity.
I used to fight these thoughts, I totally identified with them, they were me. The more i tried to fight them, the more intense they seemed to become. Major anxiety would then ensue, which after a sustained period would lead to low mood and depressive thoughts.
After a lot of reading and research I realized that the thinking mind is a function of the brain, rather than who I actually am. Who I am is the being that ‘hears’ the thoughts.
In order to dis-identify with negative thoughts we have to raise our awareness to a level that is not totally emerged in them, but can watch the thoughts, observe them, see them.
It is simple to write this down and think, ‘yes OK, that sounds easy enough, I will do this all the time and my troubles will be over’. In reality, actually practicing this can prove much more difficult.
Throughout your life your thinking mind has spent most of the time being in total control, it’s gotten used to it. To suddenly expect it to relinquish this task is a big ask.
The thinking mind ‘thinks’ that it is protecting you by constantly conjuring all many negative future possibilities, and by reminding you often of shortcomings from your past. what the thinking mind does not tend to, as it does not assume it is important regarding your protection and survival, is to remind you of all the positive things from your past, and all the good you may experience in the future, even if it is small things such as the sights and sounds of a pleasant walk.
We need to accept that calming the thinking mind can be gradual, and takes conscious practice. We cannot force the thinking mind into submission, it doesn’t work like that.
Attempting to force the thinking mind to be calm is actually invoking the thinking mind to fight itself.
All we can do, and all we need do, is to try and keep our awareness ‘above’ the thoughts as much as we can. To just observe, to not identify, and not to judge what races through our minds, as best we can.
We just need to create a little space, to pause when we recognize we have become caught up in our thoughts. The space is where awareness shines through, its light will naturally dissolve racing thoughts and calm the mind..
It takes practice, and if you are anything like me, you will have plenty of opportunities to practice.
I wrote a little guidebook that describes some powerful techniques I use to help dissolve negative thinking
It makes sense. I believe at one time in my life I was able to do this and had a less stressful life. However, certain changes and work have taken me away from that way of thinking/living. I need to go back to that. It was more like the realization that if I can’t do anything about it why worry. If I can then I have to get to work and do it. a very simple idea but it seems to hard now that the years have piled up and certain failures have left a feeling of inadequacy lingering int he mind. Got to keep fighting… got to keep going.
@joshbb, You nailed it, I would argue the importance of getting to the root cause of each thought though. They are on loops, they will be back if not dealt with.
Why THAT particular one chose to be in your mind at THAT particular moment.
Think of the ability to be aware that you are aware of those thoughts as they loop by each time; as the equivalent of hitting controlaltdelete. Relocate the thought you just had that took up so much of your attention (working memory), and find out the reason for it being there, why you thought of it, and why of all the infinite things, that is the thing that was most prevalent. There is always reason.
– Usually just has to do with sexual animal overruling the spiritual mind. Balance and control comes with experience.
And if struggling whilst learning how to ride the information wave,
Repeat the words reset in your mind until it has you’re full attention, breath, relax, smile.
And for boss level introspection, work out the HOW of all the above. Could use the help. ;-)
@gigi21, Hi Rosie, you never lose your ability to relax, Like you say, it just gets buried under layers of junk in your head. I think you can get back to a relaxed state by consciously recognizing your thoughts as just thoughts and not real. and then diverting your attention on to something simple such as your breath, while saying to yourself, ‘let go’ or ‘just thoughts’ or ‘it’s ok’ or some similar thing. It does take regular practice though, every time you can catch yourself thinking too much.
It is hard not to battle your thoughts if they don’t go away, especially when tired. having a little mantra to say to yourself does help though.
@lexovix, Hi Phil thanks for the great reply, I agree, the root of the thought is a key. What do you do if the loop is silly song, or something inconsequential, such as , looping a thought about a fixing a dent on your car or painting a window, daft thoughts that appear to have no deep meaning? or perhaps they do? cheers,, Josh
Hi, yes that is the point of meditation really, to regain mastery of your wayward ego driven thinking mind.
Your mind really wants to think it is conditioned to want something to do, its a bit like if you take a dog for a walk it really really wants to play fetch with a stick or a ball and will keep bugging you until you comply, if you don’t let it know ho is boss. If you find it difficult to calm your thoughts, focusing on the in and out of your breath can help
@joshbb, I believe it comes from your want list crashing into the need list, in order to decide what action to take at any particular moment. Just flow with it, see if you can pick up any kind of possible reasoning for the thought memory to be back, deduct irrational possibilities straight away but allow yourself to be open to adjusting if new information in the future changes that process from irrational to rational. Then just pick whatever you think is the most likely reason and flow your actions in that direction exploring alterations as they pop up. IE:
Laying in bed.
Loop of fixing a dent in your car, as you said, for example, comes up.
Run yourself through the possible reasons as to why that would be important for you to fix, and how important it is to you as a priority.
Then run yourself through the how you would go about achieving, if path seems possible, and nothing else would make you happier at that particular moment, then go with it.
If you run into an old friend along the way, might be then best to alter plans and your list priority’s, just flow with it, good fun.
Just start like, doing your best to visualize both want and need lists, merge into one under the head column happy, then do whatever would make you happiest the most if stuck in a loop that size. With a greater priority on the needs.
All else fails, just visualize the words RESET in your head, form them up till other thoughts fade, smile, open eyes and go about doing the rest of the day, repeat as needed.
@joshbb, Although if you feel you can handle it, conceptualizing another version of yourself offering opinions on what to do, which you, as controller can choose to go with or deny, just make it all work smoothly in your own mind and make it happy. :-)
Great post here. I can definitely identify with this. Throughout my life I’ve dealt with anxiety. As a kid I would get anxiety attacks that felt like a pulsing hole in my chest and would make me sit down for a few minutes. Then I got over them, I thought. When I started seeing my first girlfriend a few months ago they came back. Out of nowhere, I completely forgot that part of my life but here they were. What I’ve come to think now is it starts from a single thought. Sometimes it isnt definite but its that feeling it gives you. Once it starts it just builds until I get short of breath and hot all over. Right now its getting better but they’re still not gone. It was a few times a day weeks ago now its like once a week maybe. I think it stems from my disapproval with my sense of self and some innate embarrassment of my actions. Letting go has been key to getting over this, not sure if anyone can relate, but anxiety is an interesting thing. For me its not so much ignoring all those thoughts as identifying the core problem and changing my psyche.