Overthinking is not a state of mind rather it is a disease! A kind, that infects millions of human beings and is simply overlooked. You don’t just need to overcome it, but you need to cure it and prevent it from happening again.
Realizing Who We Are
In life not so long ago, I would often be caught up in an entanglement of thoughts that would drift my mind, my awareness far away from the present moment.
I would drink the evening cup of coffee, in the office café, missing out on all the events around me. I would miss out on the texture and flavor of my coffee. Barely notice the people walking past me. I’d be so blank if someone asked me how was the weather outside, even when I would be sitting next to the huge glass window.
The clouds, the trees, the very breathtaking landscape view from the 11th floor would just be a part of an invisible background for me, who was immersed deep in the heap of thoughts.
My body would surely be performing all the right actions, sitting upright next to a scenic view, drinking that flavorful cup of coffee which was going to give me a boost to concentrate when I go back to my office desk.
But none of it mattered. My awareness, my concentration, my mind, were all taken away. I’d be living in psychological time instead of the present. I would either be living in the past, with old conversations and situations playing out loud in my mind.
Or I’d be carving a future positive or negative, it doesn’t matter! It was a consequence process of a set of thoughts immerging inside my head with all the visuals and dialogues that may or may not occur. Either way. My mind seemed to be loving this story making game and filling the blanks with all the possibilities of occurrences.
That’s when it really hit me. And when it did, I was blown away!
We are not our mind! We are not our emotions!
Why don’t you try a simple activity, the one that actually helped me realize what all the spiritual teachers have been trying to preach!
- Grab a notepad and a pen.
- Sit in a comfortable position, wherever you like. Take a deep breath.
- Now if you feel “YOU” are the one who really thinks, and that you can turn your thoughts off and on anytime, there should be no problem in simply being still for 5 min with no thoughts at all!
- Here comes the fun part. Take 5-10 min.
- I want you to write whatever thought that springs up in your mind. Literally, whatever you think, should be on that paper. Once you get a thought, write it, then resume being still. Let me know in the comments below, what thoughts sprung up!
- If a thought arises consequently while you are writing, write that new thought too and continue remaining still, observing your thoughts.
- The key idea of this activity is to be AWARE of your thoughts. You don’t have to judge; you don’t have to tag the thought positive or negative or even neutral. You just have to record the thought and play the observer.
Now that you’ve performed this activity, I have a question for you.
If you were the one observing the thoughts. And realizing them raising in your head. Who was the one thinking them? You can’t both be the thinker and the observer!
Comment below if that blew your mind.
Dis-Identifying From Mind
That little activity that we played above, is not just a fun realization but is also a powerful technique.
Next time you are driving, cooking food, eating a meal or just walking down the sidewalk, try to play a little game I call “Being the Observe”.
All you do is, ask yourself, “What am I thinking now?” and just observe. The moment you do this; you make your mind conscious. Now you are playing as the observer of the mind.
Make it a practice to ask yourself this question, many a times in a day. You could also set up reminders on your phones at different times during the day, receiving a notification from your phone asking you this very question.
This will put you in command and your thoughts will not just drift you away, every thought will consciously come into your awareness. The more you practice this technique, the more conscious you will become of your thoughts.
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Every time some thought brinks up in your head while doing this activity, take charge! Instantly shift your awareness to your breath and objects around. Notice the trees, the people around.
Bring your awareness to the food that you’re eating, the tea that smoothly flows down through your throat, the book that you might be reading, or any other activity you are performing.
The soul idea is to be in the present moment as much as possible! The more you are aware of your thoughts, the less likely are they able to take over your present moment.