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Chatter, chatter, chatter—I should have done this and I should have gone there, and why did I do that?
OMG, she is so rude! Or maybe I said something wrong? Why is my life so hard? What am I going to do? What if this and what if that!—blah, blah, blah!
The overthinking mind…does it ever just shut right up?
Most of us travel along our own paths, going through some level of stress, or the cool thing to say, “I am living with anxiety!”
Truth is, we all experience anxiety when we allow our minds to take total control of our life. In case we are not aware, our racing minds will continue to blow out thought after thought about issues from our relationships with our loved ones, partners, kids, family, and friends, thoughts about our work/career arrangements and financial situations, our daily activities, illnesses arising or other health conditions; we even repeatedly think about past events over and over—it is a vicious cycle!
And it does not stop there; we obsessively think about imaginative future scenarios that have not even happened! It’s kind of crazy but if we do not start to notice and become more aware of our own thought processes, we will literally drive ourselves crazy with overthinking. It’s time to tell your mind, “Shut up!”
Do not get me wrong. Our sixth sense, our thinking mind, is a powerful tool for us to have but we cannot allow it to take control of us, to make us believe that we must obey every one of the 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day that come our way. Think about it, as crazy as this sounds, we can lose ourselves in our own mind. And of course, this is what happens to many of us humans…we get caught up in our own minds. And, of course, this is where all the worrying and problems arise; in fact, things get way out of control, we feel the need to find things to help us solve our issues, and then end up turning to medication, drugs, and alcohol. We even feel the need to shop until we drop, or we may just try and find any type of addiction to help distract us from our own overthinking minds.
There is a way to get ourselves out of this mess though! It may seem simple but unfortunately, for most of us, it can be a little tricky at first; but over time, the habitual practices we indulge in can make it easier.
The most practical way to take control of your own mind and thoughts is through the power of mindfulness.
This is pure awareness of one’s own thinking mind—we take a step back and pay attention to each thought, go beyond our habitual and conditioned thought patterns, learn to notice that we are in control of our overthinking mind, and that most thoughts that come to our mind can simply be brushed away! Believe me, there are plenty of those useless thoughts! Learning to stay in the present moment and becoming aware of our own breath will help to silence our own mind, and that helps in finding the stillness within ourselves.
Noticing, as thoughts arise while we practise mindfulness, but now we have an understanding that we are the controller of our own mind.
Meditation is not about trying to get anywhere else. It is about allowing ourselves to be exactly where we are and as we are, and for the world to be exactly as it is in this moment. This is the place where we reconnect with our inner self and notice that we are the observer of this chattering mind.
This does not mean that we need to block out all our feelings and emotions; this is a natural thing, when we find ourselves experiencing any type of emotion—whether positive or negative. This is okay—we can allow ourselves to notice how we are feeling and embrace this! We must try to not judge ourselves for feeling or acting in certain ways. Acknowledge everything for what it is. By learning to recognize and accept any situation that we encounter, we will allow ourselves to free ourselves from our own imprisonment.
Mind, “Shut up!” It is now time to discover the peace that exists within all of us, knowing that we are worthy of living a joyful and loving life for the limited time we are here on this amazing planet.
As the Tibetan sage Tulku Urgen said:
“The stream of thoughts surges through the mind of an ordinary person, who will have no knowledge whatsoever about who is thinking, where the thought comes from, and where the thought disappears. The person will be totally and mindlessly carried away by one thought after another!”