I have a love hate relationship with thinking. Yes, the act of thinking. Most people don’t think about their thinking, like at all. They don’t think about their thoughts and how, positive or negative, they can dictate their actions.
This is a fatal flaw.
I love thinking when it is towards a goal, like business for example. But I hate worrying, a toxic form of thinking. Worrying is a form of thinking that is made up of what ifs.
This kind of regular thought is stressful to the human mind, and is the beginning of chronic stress. The Buddhists call this suffering. They define suffering as the constant movement of our mind not kept in check.
Who woulda thought that thinkin could be so damaging? Well it can be, and often is.
I used to be a mega-worrier. It really was suffering. It sucks to be a slave to a wandering mind; to never be in the present and always worrying about this or that.
Mindless thought keeps people up at night. It creates chronic stress that we end up accepting as normal–and most people have not the slightest clue how bad the condition really is. It drags us down, it keeps us from acting. It maintains the status quo. It keeps us blind, not asking questions, not growing. It perpetuates denial and fear. It’s the bane of just about every problem of modern humans. It is the root of all fear, separation, ego, etc. The buddhist had it right: it really is suffering.
What is the answer?
To be in the present. To quiet your racing mind, to dispel your internal dialog. To see what is in front of you and only what is in front of you.
Start meditating 5 minutes a day. Start being in the present and seeing exactly what’s in front of you. Start engaging all your senses. What is do you feel, see, hear?
The first form of meditation I learned was breath meditation: Count your breath as it goes in and out with a deep and slow inhale and a steady exhale. When your mind starts to wander (it will at around 12-15 breaths) you come back to your count. You can do this driving, sitting on a bench, exercising, anytime. Just become aware of your breath and breathe actively.
Mindfulness is being hyper-aware of what you are doing. When you do something, do it purposely and do only it. You will enjoy life more and you will be better at it.
The act of thinking about the present will help you become more aware of it. This will help quiet your racing mind.
“The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion” -Albert Einstein