26 Jun Incessant Thoughts
What are all the busy thoughts in our heads?
Have you wondered when you took a moment to relax, be quiet or meditate that it was hard to rest because of the constant effort of the mind thinking about several different things? Going from one thought to the other over and over and over again?
Many people experience this especially when they are trying to sleep or when they wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep because the mind starts working. Well to be honest, the mind never stops working, but I think its helpful for us to know and understand what all of the constant busy thoughts are. Once we can step back and view them for what they are, address them, dealing with them becomes a lot easier.
You may have also noticed that as you sat rested, meditating, or trying to sleep and these constant thoughts filled your mind pulling you in one direction or the other, creating all kinds of emotions and even sensations in the body as pain, discomfort, or tension. “Wow, what I really need to do is calm my thoughts” and then we immediately go to action of trying to calm our thoughts. But the problem is that when we immediately try to calm the thoughts without understanding really what they are, then we notice quite quickly how unfruitful our efforts are. And yes, if it is a persistent practice over a long period of time, you may start to find some settling. However I have come to understand that these thoughts even though they seem random and unrelated to the circumstance of the moment, they may even seem a complete waste of time. They have some purpose and if we recognize that they have some kind of purpose and we allow ourselves to validate them and start to looking at them for what they are, they actually have their own natural course of quieting, disappearing or helping us to move forward in our life.
So what are these thoughts? These thoughts are voices from all the different parts of who you are. they may even be parts of you that you’ve experienced that really aren’t your core self. Let me try to explain. As we grow and we go through childhood, adolescents, young adult hood periods of growth we have lots of different experiences. With those experiences there were thoughts produced. Either they were introduced to us from people around us in relationship to that circumstance, or our imagination created them, certain emotions were felt, and generally some form of belief system about who we were at that moment was created. Now it may be a truth but in most cases it is not a truth. From that experience many other progressive experiences and circumstance build or validate that, even if it’s not a truth. So over time we have a pretty well established and ingrained sense of self-worth, self-identity and belief systems about who we are and what we can accomplish and what is possible. If you can imagine for a moment certain circumstances in your own personal childhood, that as I speak about it come immediately to mind, those circumstance come immediately to mind because they’re still part of where you function from and even though there may have been certain circumstances that completely countered them and debunked them and completely made to your awareness that they were false, they‘ve been along for so long that there’s plenty of other things in our lives that could show up and still validate those negative selves and parts to the point that they still continue to thrive, be fed, grow and be a part of our lives.
So what I think is interesting is that when we have a conflict with somebody, when we have a discord in a relationship with somebody. We always pick that one, two, three things about that person, what they did, what they said, what they didn’t do. Those created so much anger, disgust, sadness, disappointment, and betrayal in us that we identify that person with that. This is how our own experiences as we were young were created because people around us that saw things about us that bothered them and they completely said “this is so and so,” this is them. And what we could really benefit from in abolishing conflict whether it be in our personal relationships with our family our communities, our nation, our government in our world is recognizing that -OK this is a part of this person instead of identifying that with them. It’s something that they are experiencing from their ingrained belief system and false identities that that’s who they think they are. And we can reflect back and go “Wow they think that’s who they are, that’s not who they are”. This can make an incredible shift, an incredible shift in the way we respond to conflict. This can make an incredible shift to creating healing and overall compassion and love for people around us and ourselves.
So when we are listening to all these busy thoughts in our heads, these parts, its ok for them to be there because we can now step back and view them for what they are and say is there something more for me to learn from this and where did I first hear that? When did I first believe that? Who was a there when that part was beginning formed?
Let’s say the statement is “I am fat”. OK? and even though we could step on the scale, we could put a tape measure around our leg and our waist, we could go to the doctor and have a complete confirmation with yes you are overweight but saying the statement “I am fat” is implying that your identity is that statement. That statement is who you are. So is that true or is that false? You may first want to think well that’s completely true. Of course I am. I’ve went and gone to the doctor. I’ve looked on a scale. I’ve looked at myself in the mirror every day. I’ve tried to put on those pants and they don’t fit anymore. But what if you lose the weight? If it were a true fact you wouldn’t be able to ever lose the weight or you must have been born that way and never had another experience. When we say statements of “I am blank”, we are saying statements of identity. This is who I am. This is who I think I am and I claim it as absolute truth and there is no other alternative of who I am.
Can you see how all of a sudden stone, bricks, lumber, mortar, everything is finally built around that as if that were now a stable concrete structure that we are unable to go beyond?
What’s wonderful also of viewing these voices, viewing these busy, incessant thoughts as voices from different parts is that is in viewing them, Where are you viewing them from? Where are you stepping back to? That’s what’s incredible!
What you step back into is the very objective, life affirming, self-loving place that looks at this and goes, wow, am I fat? Is that really who I am? Do I have no other possibility, no other identity? And you start to recognize that that place that you’re in viewing that is a place of your core self. And so the more frequently we allow ourselves this opportunity to validate the thoughts, validate the busy incessant thinking, and parts of us, the more we’re pulled back to that observant self, that Lifted Self. I say Lifted Self because that part of is elevated above low self-esteem, self-degradation, the constant putting down that we do to ourselves.
There starts to be a rapid healing and understanding. There starts to be an incredible relationship with yourself that’s so different than you ever had before where you enjoy being alone. You enjoy speaking to yourself and listening to yourself. It’s literally as Buddha says, “having tea with your thoughts”. Just sit down and have tea with them. Just listen to them. Let them voice what they have. Step back into your lifted self, which is what you will do, because there is no other place to objectively step back to. You can’t step back into another ego to listen because then there would be constant judgments. There would be more limitations, more walls built and it really wouldn’t be productive.
So the next time you take a moment to lay down and sleep, rest, quiet the mind, or meditate, remember that those busy thoughts that are happening in your mind are there because they need to be validated. They need to be listened to. They can’t go away until the lesson has been learned or the point that they have has been made. And then Oh My! what beauty we see in ourselves and the world around us. We start observing everything from that lifted self, including our relationships, including our families, our neighborhoods, communities, governments and the world. It starts being so much more unified feeling, so much more motivating feeling of continuing on and getting up and doing your days work.
So post your comments about what you have experienced with the voices in your mind.
Trust me they’re not always pleasant. They’re not always kind. They’re not always at peace, which is even more reason to understand why they’re there, so that they can move on. These fragments and parts of us that we have identified with for so long can stop being who we think we are. We can start identifying with that lifted divine self, that’s forever and ever connects to all life, sees beauty in all things, purpose in all course of action.
Post what you’ve experienced. We’d like to hear what either this practice or your own practices has done for you.