We are exhausted only by our thoughts….
Why? Because our thought creates the problem then seeks a solution to the problem it created. And there is no end to the problems or solutions until we get a handle on thought.
How to Weed Your Mind:
Thought is not what you think it is. As I have been talking to my college age kids, it is becoming clear that kids in their late teens are suffering - not from what we think or they think they are suffering from - but from runaway thoughts. The transition to college requires a whole new mind upgrade but no one is teaching how do to this. As a result kids suffer way longer than they need to. We don’t need problem solving, or self esteem or thick skin. We do not need out outer circumstances to change so that we can feel better. We need mind training.
College is unique in that we rarely undergo such a massive influx of new experiences all at once. Typically, we have one or two novel experience per day. The brain has adapted to this pace and uses its tools of accommodation and assimilation to size up the experience, categorize it, offer some choices and ultimately choose a response to it. Even with one or two novel experiences we can get bogged down, overthink them, feel paralyzed and indecisive.
Our tried and true strategies though are virtually useless in the face of such a complete life overhaul such as transitioning to college. New experiences are coming fast and constantly, breathing is a luxury. In addition to outer changes, kids this age are keenly aware of the inner plan/expectation to self develop, to move out of who they have been and what has been familiar. The net effect is that they are crushed under reams of thought without a state of the art mental filing system.
A difficult transition to new life experiences is a sign of massive inner growth and should be honored as such. Avoiding it is futile. While it may seem preferable to stay in our cognitive comfort zone, it will get us nowhere on the path we all must travel to enlightenment and to knowing who we truly are.
For those in the throes of growth, until a shiny new thought system is adopted the experience can feel dissociative and scary, like free fall without a safety net. The tendency is to revert back to the old strategy of taking one thing at a time and micro-managing it. No can do - you are in the weeds and this regression is monu-‘mentally’ inefficient.
Here is the thing about thought that our overwhelming experiences are teaching us. The content of thought is irrelevant. This was a huge relief to me. I could stop caring about my thoughts. No one has time to get bogged down with each thought. The liberation one feels when we stop following our thoughts, second guessing them, playing them out, planning around them, and strategizing our next move is unimaginable. I went from not having enough time in a day to what would I like to do with myself now. When a thought arises I have learned how to let it go, and it was mind training that got me here.
From my kids and other parents and friends I hearing a theme - insecurity, not fitting in, not keeping up with others either academically, economically or socially. This applies to everyone on some level or other be it at work or play. These thoughts beget others thoughts and culminate in constant downward comparisons to others and excruciating even debilitating judgement of the self.
In response to all that pain there is a little known fact I am compelled to share.
NO ONE IS SECURE OR INSECURE
This duality does not exist but in our minds. It is imperative that we never define our kids this way and never believe this about ourselves. We are not insecure striving for security or secure for the moment fearing insecurity. We can stop assessing the security of others and how we measure up.
Insecurity, like its faux counterpart, is a thought that we have been taught. Neither is a condition of the Self. Believe it or not 99.9% of the thoughts we think are not true. The only real issue we have to understand is that if we believe a thought it becomes true for us. What we believe is always our choice and we can change our perceived truth at any time if we have a trained mind.
We cannot navigate major life upheaval (aka change) without training our mind. Old mind habits, by design, become obsolete precisely so that we can upgrade to a better model. With each life change it is this mind-shift we are undertaking. Might as well embrace it.
Thoughts are energy. All energy is meant to flow, not to be held onto and certainly not to be repeated ad infinitum. We are not our thoughts and we have to train our minds to stop over identifying and reacting to them as if they were real.
I like to ask kids where their thoughts are. They know eventually realize thoughts are in their minds and do not exist outside of the mind. Adults are tougher to reason with as they dismiss the logic so readily in deference to their own thoughts. Nevertheless, if it exists in our head, we made it up. Pure fantasy. I’ll repeat for emphasis: Every thought we have, we made up.
When we decide to agree with a thought such as, ‘I am insecure’, we begin to behave in ways that prove that thought. Hence our beliefs become our experience. With that belief in place we flip flop between attempts to overcompensate for it and succumbing to it - never being free of it. If we want peace of mind, the work is not to cure insecurity, but to release all illusory thoughts from the mind.
Logic dictates that it makes more sense to get rid of the thought rather than try to address the problem the thought created. Why exhaust ourselves dealing with the symptom when we can eliminate the cause?
Below is the beginning peace practice for getting a handle on your runaway minds. This is simple stuff, so don’t make it complicated. A week of shutting down the sh*t will change your life forever!!! You will not recognize yourself, nor will anyone else… This is the path to peace of mind.
For Fear: Changing the Mind Peace by Peace
Because no one told us we are in control of our thoughts and ensuing feelings, we have let our thoughts rule our lives. They have been like weeds that we have carefully, loved, protected and nurtured with Miracle Gro. Mind training effortlessly plucks those weeds out at the root.
Training starts with learning how to focus on the quality of the thought rather than the content. Content is where we have been taught to dwell but in truth it is psychic quicksand, the more activity you generate the deeper you sink.
The antidote to getting caught up in content involves a simple three step process.
Call a thought a thought. That is all it is.
I have a thought. Period.
I notice a thought. Period.
Oh there’s a thought. Period.
It is not good or bad
It has no meaning
It does not say anything about Me or another.
It is nothing
2) Don’t give it a second thought
Do not turn a thought into a thought stream as you will lose yourself entirely in the current.
Let all thoughts be there by themselves, misery loves company don’t encourage them
If you have a thought that you don’t love - like ‘I am insecure’ do not give it a second thought i.e. ‘people will not like me’ and ‘now I can’t go out’ etc… ending in ‘I should drop out of school or quit my job or dump my spouse.
You do not have a problem so do not act on the solutions generated by a runaway thought stream
3) Keep only TRUTH, can the CRAP
To know what is true and what is illusion use the body barometer. Truth feels good in the body, untruths feel bad in the body. Could not be easier.
Practice with these: I am insecure, that person doesn’t like me, I don’t fit in, I am a bad sister/mother/friend, I am a fraud, I am stupid. Pop each of these thoughts into your mind then feel it in your body.
Where do you feel it?
Does it feel good? It is true - you can have as many thoughts as you like that energetically jive with this one
Does it feel tight in your chest, or make you cringe? Then it is not true, so cut the CRAP!
Holding on to thoughts that are untrue is living in a delusion. In answer to your question, YES, we are all delusional right now. But with training you will be sane again and you will help others regain their sanity as well. I promise!
After a week of this work you will see how dominated your mind is and has been with runaway thought streams that you repeat daily, and with pseudo solutions to problems that your thoughts generated then set you out to fix. My guess is that, like me, you will never want to go back to your old way of system of thought mis-management…
If you need some assistance or support getting the party started, be sure to schedule a call with me.
Sending you infinite peace!!!!