Most lives are spent waiting. Waiting for dreams to manifest, for trouble to end, and for life to be happy. Golden Zen reflects on the brillance of the NOW and the winks we receive from our Source to remind us we possess it all. Golden Zen is practical and mystical, instructive and reflective. You are my invited guest.

Posts tagged ‘mind’

Stop Thinking

Stop Thinking (Guest Post by Simon O.)

Simon O from  Secret of Life, greeted me with welcome arms my very first day in blogging.  He encouraged me, helped me with my questions and has supported me ever since.  I think his actions, more than his excellent posts show that Simon has some idea of what the secret to life is really about. Based in England – he is geographically a long way from me in Vancouver BC, and yet I feel he is a part of my community.

I wanted to begin hosting guest posts and promoting the perspectives and insights of others.  Who better to have the first guest post at Goldenzen, than the guy who had the first comments to make?  I encourage you to visit  Secret of Life  and check out some of the well written and researched posts.

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Eckhart Tolle  was asked how we could gauge our spiritual development. His reply was an interesting one:

by the extent to which we have learned to stop thinking.

Not so long ago, this answer would have horrified me. If I had to stop thinking, that was it. I wouldn’t have wanted any part of spiritual development, thank you very much. I valued my brain and wanted to keep using it.

But of course, Eckhart Tolle wasn’t really suggesting that we should stop thinking entirely. Our brain is a useful tool. There are times when we need to use it. What he was talking about was stopping all the *unnecessary* thinking we do: the endless ‘mind chatter’ which is the unbidden soundtrack to our lives.

A good way to explain this is to think of computers. There are times when we need to ask our computer to do something for us: like download a file, for instance, or save some photos onto a DVD. So we make the necessary clicks of the mouse and the computer starts working away. The light on the box flashes on and off and there’s a strange sort of grinding noise which I’ve never understood. I assume that this is the cogs of the microprocessor turning round or something like that, though I don’t claim to have a deep understanding of technical matters. Anyway, a short while later, the light stops flashing, the grinding goes quiet, and the task is complete. All is well and good.

If our computer isn’t working too well, however, it sometimes starts flashing and grinding away for no apparent reason. It’s clearly working away at something or other, but nothing that *we’ve* asked it do do. The flashing and grinding seem to go on for ever, and all the things we try to do on the computer are slowed right down. It’s this sort of unnecessary background activity that our brains get up to all the time. This is the ‘mind chatter’ we’d be better off without. There’s nothing useful about it. It just gets in the way of our lives.

What is Mind Chatter?

This mind chatter is usually all about regrets of the past, fears for the future, and unnecessary judgements about things which – as Harmony would put if – are ‘none of our business‘. This is not about using our brains in any meaningful way. It’s unnecessary noise which gets in the way of us experiencing the joy of the present moment. It means that we’re stuck in our heads instead of living our lives.

But how do we lose this mental chatter? How can we lose this unhelpful habit of constant unnecessary thought?

Harmony touched on this in an earlier post, Help – I Want To Lose My Mind!  in which she encouraged us to observe our thoughts. This is a very powerful practice. It helps us to understand that we are *not* our thoughts. It is the first step to taking back control of our minds, instead of being controlled *by* them. Our mind is supposed to be our tool, not our master…

Here are a few other tips you could also try:

Focus on your breathing. This gives your mind something to occupy itself, instead of the constant ‘yammer, yammer’ of the internal chatter.

Focus on your heart centre. This can shift us away from being in our heads all the time, so it can help to quieten the mind. After all, we are not just our heads. Other parts of the body are also available.

Go out into the garden – or into nature. These are good places to focus your attention in the present moment, because there’s a lot going on to distract the mind from all that thinking: the smell of the flowers, the feel of the breeze on your face, the song of the birds…

Set an alarm (e.g. on your computer) to go off every hour and remind you to come out of your head and connect with the present moment. A good way to make this connection is to focus on any one of your senses. This might be the feel of your hands on the desk or the sounds in the room.

Perhaps you also have some tips that might help us to kick this terrible habit of thinking? Please share them with us if you do!

Here’s one more before I go. This is another idea which comes from Eckhart Tolle. Imagine you are a cat, waiting outside a mousehole. Now ask yourself this question:

“I wonder what my next thought will be….”

Simon O.

P.S. From Harmony:  I think this photo is extraordinary in portraying mind chatter.  In fact, the artist, who creates marketing materials, logos, illustrations and such can be found at Dianne Johnson

As for Simon’s blog, here are a few of the posts I have enjoyed lately:

Earth Doomed – (not quite as scarry as it sounds!)

Global Financial Crises – A Blueprint for Transformation

How Does it Feel to Win a Million

What if You Lost Your Mind?

When is the last time you walked by a homeless individual and secretly thought to yourself that you were so glad that human being was not you?  Even worse, if they are mumbling long streams of undecipherable words strung together by expletives, perhaps you gave them a wide berth.  They seem to have lost their mind somewhere in the pain, memories, or chemical warfare and they are left undesirable, unpredictable and unpleasant.

We call them mentally unstable.  They seem to search for something they can’t find, and if they do, they instantly begin the search again.

The mentally ill often live a life of turmoil and isolation.  However, I have noticed within myself and countless others, some similarities with our minds that can be disturbing.  Those seen on the streets are sometimes men and women just like you and I who forgot to pull the curtain on their ludicrous thoughts, or just don’t care who “sees” them anymore.  Their minds seem out of control with obsessive thoughts and fears while they remain highly intelligent in various disciplines of science, mathematics or history.

How Well Does Your Mind Serve You?

  • Have you noticed that you mumble to yourself about other people, their behavior, what you think of the rain etc?  Perhaps you don’t verbalize your thoughts.
  • Do you find yourself worrying about the same issues almost daily, if not hourly? 
  • Are you content to be quiet and still or do you need the more sophisticated diversions and stimulation – in your case maybe you have a TV, iPod or laptop?
  • Does your mind always tell you the truth about what others think about you? 
  • Do you wonder at times if people were just talking about you behind your back, or if the driver in the car behind you is talking to her passenger about you? 

The street people are called paranoid, what’s your label?

  • Can you ever find an escape from your thoughts or do you need a drink after work or a joint to set a new mood?  At least you are not sharing a needle, so I it’s a more sane approach, and less risky.

Losing your mind, as presented in this series of articles can be refreshing, revitalizing and healthy, if you lose it by choice. What you find could signal a transformation, a state of contentment, and at times euphoria.

The key is to know how to lose one’s mind by conscious choice; how to empty your thought generator long enough to experience your real self, rather than replacing the pain and anguish for an escape into non-reality.

Your mind, which in fact is best defined as craziness, can mislead you and cause you undue suffering.  The unconscious mind injures relationships and stymies your ability to become all that you want to be.  And the unconscious mind, without the normal control panel set properly, will appear to the world to be insane.

I propose there is a place for losing one’s mind and finding the inner tranquility of a presence more vast, more intelligent, more stable than anything our “right mind” could conceive.  Each Monday, for the next 4 weeks we will address this topic and offer practical ways to lose your mind and find yourself.  You won’t appear mad, or lose your job!  In fact, you will excel and become highly proficient at the things you decide to do, because of the renewed focus and energy. Life begins to reveal new dimensions when you have the awareness to see them.  I invite you to join me for the journey and share your thoughts and experiences along the way.

At the very least, you will see the homeless (not to imply that all that are homeless are insane) or “insane” with a new perspective that could change the way you feel when you walk by them or they sit next to you on the commuter train.

Here are some highlights of the weeks to come:

Help! I Need To Lose My Mind: How to begin a conscious process of seeing life anew.
Help! My Mind Is Back: How to allow a gentle process (or awakening) of consciousness in you.
Five Sure Fire Signs To Be Sure You Lost Your Mind: What does awakening, awareness or consciousness “feel” like?
How Will My Lost Mind Save My Relationships?  : Allowing your new life to penetrate what matters to you most.

Be sure to sign up for my RSS feed and stay tuned.  This may be the spring of a new mind for you!

In The Grace of the Moment,
Harmony

 My sincere thanks to the generousity and talent of the photographers at Flickr. Names and URL’s are listed relative to the placement of the photo in the post.

Orhan: http://www.flickr.com/photos/orhantsolak/213849945/

Urline: http://www.flickr.com/photos/urline/1269483272/

snowdog 101:http://www.flickr.com/photos/snowdog101/421054969/

 

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