Let's compare thinking to Facebook and Twitter. Like our constant barrage of thoughts, we have news feeds and timelines that are constantly being updated.
thoughts we actively think about, the more thoughts that enter our
mind. Just how the more friends and followers we have, the more posts
we have on our news feeds and timelines.
Trying to keep up with all of the mental and social media information is exhausting (because it's impossible), discouraging (because it's impossible), and downright insane (because, ok, you get it).
Luckily we have our tools like hiding friends on Facebook (I haven't done that yet...whoever said being unpopular doesnt pay!?) and creating lists or hiding twits on Twitter (I have done that).
In respect to our minds, we need to have filters like the social media ones. The best one I've learned to date is to be thoughtless. No, not in that way.
One of my friends who has recently had significant life changes came over for a non virtual chat. She relayed concern about how well everything was going and then all of a sudden she started noticing dark feelings creep up. My friend wanted to know how to stop it from turning into full blown depression.
First I shared what I have learned in regards to meditation. Which is to not hold on to thoughts. The more attention we give a thought, the more it spirals out of control. If we recognize a negative or upsetting thought and allow ourselves to ponder it, we are inviting more thoughts (and negativity) into our mind. The best course of action is to immediately release that first thought.
Surprisingly this isn't as easy as it sounds because, as Eckhart Tolle mentions in "The Power of Now", our modern day culture is wired to always be thinking.
It began with us being taught in school to idolize the great thinkers and philosophers of the days of yore. Not only did we learn about these geniuses but we were constantly encouraged that it is possible for each one of us to think up that next best thing, end world hunger, figure out the meaning of life, etc. You name it, we can think it.
Seriously, what do we really spend our time thinking about:
Our schedules, work, what other people think of us (sure, why not think about what other people are thinking), what we are going to wear, what we are going to eat, what the weather is like, how we are going to make ends meet, when will we get noticed, will we have more kids, will these kids grow up to be menaces, what should go on the powder room wall, do brown and black really not go together, do we have stamps, etc.
The beautiful thing is, we don't
have to think about this stuff. We just need to have an
awareness of what is happening, instead of thinking about what is
happening. I wrote more about being in the moment in the Now post and "The Power of Now" is also a great resource.
If we can shut our minds off from all the chatter, our minds gain more acuteness for when it is actually time to think. Try it, I think :) you'll like it.