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Think, Think, Think, How to Stop Thinking So Much

Updated on May 13, 2013

 The house is still, everything is quiet and dark, you're lying in bed......if this makes you think of blissfully awaiting a peaceful nights need to continue reading...... enjoy your sleep, because for some, this sounds like the epitome of torture. The self made prison that is our mind that haunts us when everything is calm and peaceful. For us, calm and peace are enemies because there is no distraction to pull our minds away from the torment that we inflict on ourselves.  Because to us our torment is our friend and we get frustrated if we can't sit with it in chaos. For it's this chaos where we think through the madness and feel that each thought brings us one more thought closer to finally unwinding the spiderweb that entangles our brain. But you see, there is no end as each thought closed opens one or two more to work through and hours can seemingly pass in the blink of an eye and really all that happened was nothing. Literally nothing but sitting and thinking in endless circles layer upon layer delving deeper into the mind and subconscious as if some great mystery were being solved. Searching and seeking, re-working, re-playing life backwards and forward frame by frame, pause, rewind, replay, do over. Madness, insanity in all its glory. Sometimes inconsequential, meaningless incomplete thoughts that can't be summarized, like words half-written non-descriptive of anything, but to us they are what we identify with, the nothing-ness that keeps the hands on the wheel for us to drive down this God forsaken path yet another time.  Another turn into darkness, but pull us away with some human interaction and the chaos only grows, because now the focus is not on the madness, but trying to move towards something tangible with another person, which ultimately to us does nothing to help us clear our heads. We can't wait to be alone to ourselves again to sit and think uninterupted. And oh how magnificent the outward world we create must be, because outwarldy everything must appear to be ordered, solved and problem free, in contrast to what is going on inside our multi-dimensional world of thoughts deep inside our heads, the closet doors we keep shut and locked. Let the circus begin!

If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. You aren't crazy, you aren't insane, and you certainly don't need to be medicated. But what you do need to consider is the pervasiveness of thought cycles like these in your life. We all go down the wrong road every now and then, but the difference that sets us apart is that we don't turn around and go back to get on the right road. We continue to go along this path thinking we will find our way out  by continuing. But once determined we chased down a rabbit hole, its imperative to stop immediately and turn around, if not the cycle will only continue and so the madness goes another day.  Stopping the cycle seems impossible. Where to begin?  Definitely not with more thought.

The goal is to stop the mind from running aimlessly. Meditation, prayer, a structued life wtih healthy routines. Whats ironic about meditation is that often those that don't struggle with endless internal chatter find that meditation is difficult and give up. They aren't used to the inevitable wandering that the mind encouters as you try to still it and focus.  For those of us who suffer from the thoughts of our minds, meditation is welcome reprieve, an almost magical cure.  Coupled with spiritual practices, meditation can begin to unwind the wheels that spin and form a foundation of a structured life that leads to a greater connecfion to yourself, to others to life. Simply begin by sitting comfortably, closing your eyes and focus on nothing but your breathing. When thoughts enter your mind, aknowledge that they entered and then re-focus on your breath. You'll likely need to continually bring yourself back to your breath as you'll find that the mind is hard to stop. But like training a puppy, keep bringing it back. Begin to count, in....out...1, in....out..2, count to 10 and try to reach 10 all the way through without letting invading thoughts in.

Diet, exercise and attempts at a routine sleep schedule are also other things to help the chaos. Its hard to fight a battle after a tough workout, or on an empty stomach. Being tired too, makes matters all the more difficult to let your mind wander with endless torment. At the end of the day, its doing something, anything and making it a part of your daily life that will set you free. A fish that stops moving is likely to die. This in essence is what we must do to avoid the mindlessness that dominates our lives. When in doubt, do something, anything. Right or wrong, but don't sit and do nothing. When faced with the options of doing something or doing nothing, something always changes the status quo. An object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. It takes a willingness within to want to make a change in your life, to get off the couch, out of the bed and do something about it. If not, we already know we can spend endless hours thinking and thinking, doing literally nothing, creating nothing, adding nothing to our lives, society, humanity. Unless that is, we share those thoughts, articulate them so maybe someone else may find them and realize they are not alone.


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