This is a guest post by Dr. Shawn Haywood
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
This is often a pretty exact equivalent to the constant yammering that goes on up in the ole’ noggin!
Is thinking really all it’s cracked to be? We “think” that thinking is some amazing gift that separates humans from animals. And while thinking is pretty awesome at times, I’m not convinced that thinking is that useful mostof the time. I mean sure, I glad not to be a vegetable. But I am also a far happier, inspired, peaceful and connected human when my mind is quiet.
Ahh…a quiet mind…are you familiar with this state? Or is your mind filled with incessant yammering, chattering, fear or dramatic stories?
Rarely is a single thought, or even a collection of thoughts, particularly interesting or useful. The majority of your thoughts serve only to slow you down, bottle necking and prolonging negativity or negative emotion, and thoughts create a lot of mental, physical and external drama!
We get so gripped by the thoughts in our head. We believe they are real, factual, true and a reflection of who we are. Nothing could be less true. We are not our thoughts or emotions. We are the subject; they are the objects.
We even go so far as to flatter ourselves that our thoughts are rivetingand interesting…Sorry to burst your pride bubble. But the vast majority of the thoughts you think during any given 24-hour cycle are the exact same as the ones you thought yesterday, and the day before, and the day before and the month before: you get the picture. So not that interesting, right?
Honestly, there’s no good reason to be all stuck in your head. It is a mudslide most of the time. Getting stuck in thoughts about about what you did or didn’t accomplish; what he or she said and what you “should” have said; why this person acts in ___ ways; fretting; worrying; thinking about money, love, weight or fitness; feeling bad as a result of a particular thought or drama story; and on and on the mental chaos unfolds. Most of it is negative and impacts you negatively.
Have you ever thought about why you practice thinking so much? Or why you don’t practice BEING still and quiet minded more of the time? What is the point of narrating every moment of the day? Experiencing life is diametrically different that thinking about it constantly.
Honestly, if someone wanted to torture me, they could tie me to a chair and play the incessant yammering narration of sporting events. I mean shit! I’m watching the darn game: shut your pie hole for 10 seconds. Well, I don’t like constant yammering in my head either. And my hunch is you’d be happier too if your mind learned to soften, slow down and even get quiet for extended periods of time each day.
Would you like to quiet your mind?
It’s magic, I promise!
I have a new online course coming up, Freedom From Chaos that will help you dig deeper into concepts that will help you feel calmer, happier and really confident! It begins on March 28 and I’d love for you to join! Follow this link for details: http://www.liberatemylife.com/freedom-from-chaos. (Psst…it’s for women only!)
Slow Down…Then Stop!
How the heck do you slow your mind and eventually bring it to a halt?
Take Liberated Action!
Fortunately, there are multiple ways. Here are my three favorites.
I know, I know, you hear me talk about meditation in just about every blog. BUT it is that valuable. Have you started yet? It’s like maybe you don’t even want to be calm and more peaceful! Just teasing.
Most people resist this practice for a time, even years (like I did!). It has the illusion of being “difficult.” People think that when they sit down to be still, that their brain lights up even more. Sorry to burst your bubble again, but this is how frantic your mind is ALL of the time. It’s just that when you sit and practice being still, you get to witness just how manic your thoughts are, seemingly in techno-color.
There are numerous forms of formal meditation. I find that chanting or repeating the sound of “Oommmm” is the best for me. But I have experimented with a dozen or more meditations. You too can experiment until you find a couple that serve you well. There is a ton of research regarding the benefits of various forms of meditation. But, the main goal is to just BEGIN!
Choose a method, set your alarm for 10 minutes each day, and add on five minutes each month. Tada!
As the length of your meditations extend, and the depth of your meditation deepens, the experience will begin to transform you in beautiful and unexpected ways. It will also provide the added benefit of slowing your mind for increasingly longer periods after meditation concludes. Have fun!
2. The Art of Surrender
Surrender is a true gateway to unbelievable peace. For me, practicing surrender throughout each day with thoughts and emotions has been even more valuable than meditation (though now they work together in beautiful harmony).
The easiest way to practice surrender is to begin stopping yourself, (i.e. become aware that you are the thinker and NOT the thought) in mid-thought. Then, practice taking a breath and surrendering or letting the thought go. You can repeat this hundreds of times each day as you catch various thoughts, drama stories and emotions.
Depending upon what’s going on in my life, I might do this 1000 times in a day. Some days I have more difficulty securing a slow or quiet mind and therefore I practice boat loads of surrender.
You can pause and surrender to a thought or an emotion. You can even practice surrender or letting go as a form of meditation, which I have done for years. It has proven to be a complete rock star tool in literally permanently removing many forms of negativity, limiting beliefs and mental drama of all kinds.
I double dog dare you to try this out! Don’t be frustrated if you feel like, “it’s not working Shawn,” on the first few or few hundred attempts! You have practiced a ton of mental madness for your entire life. Literally every waking hour since you were between four and five years old…so how many hours of practice is that? I mean gosh, what if you practiced the violin, gymnastics, painting or anything else that much? You’d be the best in the world!
So, give yourself time to incorporate these new habits too. Sow the seed, fertilize it, water it regularly and be patient while it grows and produces fruit! Rome was not built in a day, my high achieving friend!
3. Conscious Breathing
Well, this seems obvious, right?
Conscious breathing literally means to focus on your breath. You can count the seconds of breath as you inhale, then try to match the seconds of breath as you exhale. You might choose to focus on the sensation or feeling of the breath as it passes through each nostril on an inhale and on the sensation as it moves over your lips on an exhale. You can also place your focus on the expansion and contraction of your torso. Or…you can rotate your focus from breath to breath.
The point is, practice shifting your attention from the monkey in your mind to the breath that you breathe with full and conscious awareness.
You could practice this for three minutes at the top of each hour, when you open your eyes in the morning or as you drift off to sleep (which will likely aid in the quality of your sleep!). You can come up with any system you like for shifting into conscious breathing, as long as you create a system!
I hope you are feeling inspired to slow your brain down and even learn to stop thinking altogether. Seriously, unless you are using a specific problem solving skill, critical thinking skill, creating something, learning something new or having an inspiring conversation, your brain might as well be RESTING!
Check out my new online course coming up, Freedom From Chaos. You will love it! It begins on March 28, and I’d love for you to join! Follow this link for details: http://www.liberatemylife.com/freedom-from-chaos
Cheers to liberated feeling, thinking and living!
Hit us up if you’d like support or if you’d like help learning to quiet your mind!