This is probably a lot different to what we usually hear. We’re always told to try techniques like meditation or positive thinking to return to an emotionally calm state. What I’ve discovered from my own experience is that by focusing on trying to get rid of thoughts or feelings, we are focusing on what we don’t want and thus keeping them in place. By nature, whatever we focus on, we empower. Have you ever noticed that when you want a good experience to last, it gradually slips away like sand through the gaps in our fingers. In the same way that if we want a bad experience to go, it usually seems like it takes ages to shift. If you’re currently doing any of the things which I mention and they seem to be working for you, then fine, that’s great, keep it up.
7 powerful words > STOP TRYING TO MAKE THE MIND QUIET <
It can’t be done through effort. The very attempt to silence the mind and stop thinking thoughts creates the opposite effect. If you kept telling yourself to not think of a white polar bear, eventually you would think of a white polar bear. If you don’t believe me, try it out. Tell yourself to not think of a white polar bear and see what happens.
What i’m trying to say is that by making an effort to stop the thoughts and thus return to a quiet mind, we often amplify the unwanted thoughts and feelings. This is why I don’t meditate or make any attempt to change, fix or escape from my inner state. I know thoughts are transitory. They will come and go, as it’s the nature of the mind. What makes them stick around longer is wanting the thoughts to be gone or trying to fix them. Thought or feelings are not designed to be sticky, they are designed to give us a temporary experience and then pass. Resistance to these thoughts and feelings is what makes them seem far more intense than they really are. In reality, they are completely meaningless. It’s us who gives them credibility and power that they don’t really have.
We have to understand that no thought or feeling is inherently bad. They will not harm us… they are just energy movements which will pass in time.
When we focus our energies on trying to control or stop our thoughts, we are making it into a problem. We are telling ourselves that these thoughts are bad and need to be overcome. When we do this, we dig ourselves deeper and deeper into a hole. We keep searching for a solution to stop our unwanted thoughts, telling ourselves that if we keep thinking positive, if we keep meditating, then eventually we’ll be able to stop them. But this is a trap.
The truth is we can’t control our thoughts. It’s an unwinnable game. It’s like trying to control a hurricane or stop the waves of a stormy ocean. If we try to interfere with the storm of the mind, we will just get caught up in it. So when we allow our thoughts and feelings to be there, without wishing they were gone or trying to think ourselves out of an undesirable state, focus our attention away from our inward state and onto things which bring us emotional fulfilment, we can allow the storm to pass.
Focus your time and energy on the things which you TRULY want to be doing. Things which bring you enjoyment. Don’t focus your time and energy on things which you think you have to be doing. If you really don’t want to meditate, don’t meditate. If you don’t want to keep a journal, then don’t keep a journal. If you don’t want to make the exhausting effort of monitoring and changing your thoughts, then good, you don’t have to.
There’s really nothing you have to do. Immersing ourselves in our favourite activities just allows us to make really good use of our time and energy. It also takes away our focus from trying to control what cannot ultimately be controlled. This is a really good thing. Put it this way, it’s far more enjoyable, productive and healthier than trying to battle with our inner state, which, after all, just keeps what we’re trying to overcome in place.
More often than not, it’s about eliminating the things which are innocently getting in the way. Eliminating the things which are innocently stopping us from returning to our natural state of calm and wellness. Things like talking about our thoughts and feelings, meditating, positive thinking, thought management techniques, etc. While these techniques sound really good and mean well, they either make us feel frustrated or remind us of what we’re trying to forget. Remember, whatever we focus on, we empower. So whatever we do to focus on our thoughts and feelings will just give them more power. No amount of mindfulness, meditating, positive thinking, talking about how we feel, trying to block negative thoughts, or trying to think our way out of them will allow ourselves to settle back down. This is akin to not thinking about a pink elephant when someone tells you not to.
How do our minds really work?
It’s about understanding how our minds work. The mind, if left alone long enough, will return to itself to it’s baseline setting of calm and wellness because our default is wellness and balance. Think of our mind and feelings like the weather. Sometimes it’s stormy, sometimes it’s calm. It’s all transitory. The clouds in the sky don’t stick to the sky. They might hover around for a while, but by nature they are designed to be fleeting. Everything in existence is fleeting. The storms come, the storms pass. In the same way that thoughts come, thoughts pass. Unwanted feelings come, unwanted feelings pass. Good thoughts and feelings come, they also pass. It’s only when we perceive them to be threatening and think they shouldn’t be there that generates the most suffering
Instead of perceiving them to be dreadful, harmful or bad, why not just view them as meaningless, harmless and transient thoughts… because that’s what they truly are. When you view them in this way, they will lose their power over you. They will pass through you without making your experience a miserable one. It’s only when we think we shouldn’t be experiencing them and that they are bad do we give ourselves a difficult time. It’s about changing our relationship to them. When we change our relationship from one of fear and resistance to allowance and fearlessness, then these thoughts and feelings don’t mean anything. We can allow them to come, and we can allow them to go. This is how life should be. It’s not that we should never experience bad thoughts or feelings. That’s nonsense. We have no control of what thoughts come or how we emotionally respond to something. It just happens. In the same way breathing happens.
So because we can’t stop thoughts and feelings from arising inside of us, it makes much more sense to avoid the control elements and to focus solely on what we can do to allow ourselves to be emotionally well, despite whatever we experience internally or externally. The only thing we have to do (not really a doing) is to actually allow our inner state to be exactly as it is without worrying about fixing or managing it.
By doing this, the thoughts and feelings will always pass and the blue skies of our natural state of wellness will shine through.
Here’s to feeling at ease within yourself.