How do we break the habit of excessive thinking?

By not paying thought any mind and instead being 100% devoted to the experience of now.  By not fretting about the past, nor worrying about the future too much, and being fully conscious of now.  By accepting the present moment as it is for as long as it is…neither clinging nor repelling what (by its very nature) changes.

Resistance tends to create thought.  Something happens that you don’t like and you may mentally think how the other person was wrong for doing what he or she did.  Then you may resist the thought by thinking, “I shouldn’t think that way”.  In this way, one thought creates another thought.  Both being a resistance to what-is.

This is why trying to break the habit of thinking or trying to stop thinking tends to create more thought.  Our resistance to thought creates more thought.  Trying to fight the thinking mind is an unending battle.  You can’t fight the mind…for there is no victory in fighting the mind…only an eternal battle.

Instead accept it, but pay it no mind.  That is…don’t focus on thought or attend to your thoughts.  A thought arises…and passes.  If you show no interest in thinking, thoughts do decrease.  The brain/mind wants to be helpful – so befriend the mind.

The most basic function is to protect us from danger (predators), find food, and find mates.  However, the human brain has evolved to be a very powerfully imaginative instrument.  We can predict tons of real and more likely imagined dangers.  Our desires go beyond food and move on to accumulating all sorts of things.

Animals have a much more simple life.  The only problem animals have is hunger.  Full stomach…no problems.  Outside of finding food when hungry, you see them playing, sleeping, and doing whatever they want.  They are not worrying about how they will survive this winter or fretting over how someone ate more than their fair share of food last winter.  However, humans find that when they are hungry…they have one problem…but when full there are hundreds of problems.

We attend to these thoughts of problems and dwell on them.  Again, thoughts creating more thoughts.  I got a raise, but how can I get promoted.  When I get a promotion, I can get a new car.  My current car is old and might start having issues.  On and on it goes.  The wheel turns and we keep pushing the wheel and so the wheel keeps turning.

Instead, let go of the thoughts.  Don’t pay them any mind.  Don’t attend or add energy to the imaginations.  Instead, fully experience the now…be 100% devoted to the experience of the moment.  What do you see, hear, smell, taste, feel, etc.?  What do you feel outside (wind, sun, etc.) and what do you feel inside (pulse, lungs expand and contract, etc.)?

The conscious mind is only aware of a fraction of the data being received by the senses.  The subconscious receives much more, as you can recall details you normally would not know when under hypnosis.  Once the conscious mind is out of the way, more can be recalled.  So do not doubt that more can be consciously received.  Experiment and find out how much you can be aware of at this moment.  No need to put pressure on yourself…it is all there and coming to you already.  Just see how much you can consciously absorb.

In my experience, it is like there is only so much attention to go around between thinking and experiencing.  If you are thinking and in your head too deeply, you may lose experiencing the world and trip over a crack in the sidewalk or bump into someone you didn’t see.  It is possible to experience the now so fully that thought slows or ceases entirely.  If thought arises, let it go and return to the experience and feeling in the now.  Feeling and inhabiting the body is a gateway.

Of course, the mind will throw bait out (so to speak).  It is just trying to be helpful…it will give you some piece of info that normally would be of concern to you.  This info will be a thought about the past or future…being of some relevance to a “me”.  Don’t bite on the bait.  Just accept the arising of the thought and let it go.  Befriend the mind.  It is a great tool and servant…so appreciate the mind.  But be more concerned with the present moment.

It comes down to what is most important to you.  Is it the past, present, or future?  For me, the present is what matters most.  The past does not exist but only as a memory.  The future does not exist outside of an imagination.  The only place I can experience is here and the only time I can act is now.  The experience of now…rather than thought of past or future…is what I attend to.  If you too decide that the present is what is most important, and stay with abiding in the present moment…you won’t find thinking to be a problem.  Thinking might just cease on its own one day.

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eputkonen

Modern-day house-holder yogi and lover of what-is; living in peace, contentment, and joy.