Our world of incessant thoughts is a mystery. What is their purpose and do they truly represent who we really are? Although it might seem that we generate them and control them at will, if we observe them closely, we’ll see that this isn’t true.
When we experience insomnia, we witness our thoughts repeating themselves like the babbling of an insane person. Our minds are quiet for only a small fraction of the day. Most of the time, we’re addicted to thinking. Like an alcoholic, one thought leads to another.
While some people have become more aware of this human flaw, most have no clue how little power they have over thoughts. Yet, thoughts have a huge power over us.
When I first began to meditate, just like a puppet, I followed my mind. With eyes closed, I had the intention to observe my breath, but I would hear in my head, Did I leave the lights on upstairs? I better go and check. Once I was back in my meditation position, I could hear after a few seconds, What would my ex-husband think of me meditating? I’m so glad I left him, and his stupid mother judged me all the time… Wait, that was years ago! Oops! Where was I? Ah yeah, breath counting.
After a while, I began noticing a heaviness and tension in my body with each negative thought, worry, bad memory, and doubt, and even then, I didn’t realize what was going on. It took some time for me to see that my own thoughts were affecting me greatly. I would go from relaxation to painful memories without even realizing it.
I could swear back then that I was an optimist and never had negative thoughts, at least, not many; however, as I began to closely observe my thoughts, it became frightening. I had many destructive thoughts from criticizing myself to assuming people’s negative intentions towards me.
Sometimes, thoughts are entertaining and produce pleasure, as when we are in love and can’t stop from fantasizing. We enter a world of wishful thinking in which we are heroes and heroines, and, like a dear client once said to me, “we masturbate with our thoughts.”
Today, after close observation, I’d say thoughts seem to come from an organ in the body, perhaps a part of our brain, and we have confused them with ourselves, for they are not us. They are simply so incessant and loud, filling our heads with regrets and fears and the back and forth of contradictory thoughts. Observe them during an insomnia night. You might hear, I should have said yes, but I said no, oh no. Seconds later, I should have said it this way, yes. Seconds later, I believe I should have said yes; why did I say no? Shut up! I heard you already! Go to sleep. But I could have it say it a different way. Argh. Torture.
How about that song you heard a few times that day? It keeps on repeating like a continuous loop recording inside your head. You wish there were a button you could push to turn it off. Sometimes, you may start out loving the song, but after hours of insomnia, you will learn to hate it.
Our thoughts are meant to be a tool, but, instead, we’ve given them all the power. This lack of understanding may be responsible for even tragedies.
I’ve also observed that incessant thoughts increase when we’re under stress. Where do they come from? It seems that the roots are within our worries, derived from our self doubt and fears of the unknown and death, which cause a hyper-stimulation to our systems, an overload. You hear it because there’s no way to bring the volume down, and, naively, we identify with it as ourselves instead of seeing it as the product of an overloaded brain.
In my presentations to audiences, I like to remind people of the “out of this world” technology we have at our finger tips in our brains, and that most people haven’t yet begun to learn how to use it. Give a powerful Corvette to a blind person, and see how far they will go.
I just want to remind you, that while you’re sipping your coffee, nearly 90 billion neurons are communicating and making 10 quadrillion calculations per second.
The question that remains for me today is, Does the brain have its own life independently from me? If so, could we say that the brain alone is the one responsible for giving all instructions to my body without my consent? But when we consider balancing, for example, we see that it’s a learned skill. We learned to stand up at one point. It took some weeks or months, but we did it and stored that skill for future use.
But what about the ability of our circulating blood? It isn’t a learned skill, apparently; or could I be handling and directing my overall functions without my full awareness? When I give my brain the order to walk in a certain direction, it’s not with an audible order but with a silent intention that’s extremely subtle and imperceptible. I don’t know for sure, but I’ve chosen to believe that we’re more responsible for our bodies than we think.
In the meantime, I’d like to discuss some ways to subdue the incessant thoughts.
How to diminish the incessant thoughts:
• Reducing stress is the number one solution. You cannot do much when you’re under stress. All you can do at such a stage is to be aware that you’re experiencing stress and choose to ignore your thoughts by not buying into any of them, especially under this circumstance. NOTHING wise can come from a stressed mind. Not trusting them might be the wisest advice, until you have regained your balance.
• Increase rest period. Taking a 15-minute nap can do wonders for you in the days that follow a period of increased thought flow.
• Similar to when you give an order to your brain to walk, as in the previous example, send the order to trust in the flow of life, a higher purpose, the universe or God. Trusting is a powerful instruction to your brain that can significantly reduce your stress. Let go of trying to figure everything out yourself, as, in this state, you won’t obtain much of value. Focus on trusting and fabricate that sensation, and I promise that your brain will respond. Ask yourself, how does a person who trusts walk, eat, lie in bed? Make trusting yourself, your environment, and your life in general a lifestyle habit.
• In moments of increased thoughts, decrease caffeine and any boosters. They’ll boost you for sure, but if you’re out of balance already, it might not be the best choice.
• Change your diet to a healthier one. Poor quality meals will interfere with your thought process as well. A heavy meal won’t offer you a clear mind.
• Increase your water intake; flush toxins as much as you can.
Take responsibility for those functions that you can handle in your body, and don’t worry about the ones that you apparently can’t handle. The glue that will put all this together is found in the virtue of SELF-DISCIPLINE. If you’re already a self-disciplined person, that’s awesome. Your goal can then be to just bring it to every area of your life.
I wish you a clear cloudless sky.