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I’ve always lived in my head. Knobby fingers gripping the corner of my eyesockets; shy squinting eyes peering fearfully around my brain. The vast world  laid out before it. A panoply of sights and sounds and colors. Overwhelming blasts of stimuli and stimulation, incapable of suppression.

I deal with life by thinking. By filtering with the active intellect. By thinking and cutting and slicing and dicing with my logical mind. Analyzing, dividing, organizing the information that hits the mind

Coping by classifying.

This week, these past few days, I’ve taken a small measure of liberation from these fetters. I have disassociated myself from the heady intoxication of thinking.

Two realizations allowed me to span this gap.

Firstly that I am not my thoughts. At the best, I am the observer of my thoughts. If I am quite and at peace, the thoughts are  in my mind, around my mind, but they are not my Mind. My Mind sifts thoughts, decides which are gems worth keeping.

Secondly, I don’t always need to think. Sometimes the best thing to do is to surrender to the moment. To submit to the ebb and flow of the tide. To sense, to intuit, to feel the rhythm and pulse rather than count. This immersion in the ‘now’, feeling the texture of the carpet brushing your heels, hearing each eddy of the wind and succumbing to the gentle caress of the sun.

These two sensations, detachment and attachment, free me momentarily from my thinking mind. As I use them, seeking the quite peace they provide, I find the impulse to furious thought leaves. Things are what they are, the quest for deep whys and hows and whats doesn’t seem achievable and I don’t strain myself to find them.

I have accepted that thinking is a tool, one of the tools of the mind. We have other great capacities within, capacities that can better solve the tasks I solve by thinking. They wait for me to put them to use. They yearn for it. And now they have their chance.

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3 Comments

  1. I’m very curious, how is this going for you?

    I also want to stop thinking, and everytime I can sit in silence I am able to get away from the constant tension and noise in my head. I wish there were more effective capabilities for solving my problems, but the only thing I am remotely aware of is intuition. What will really happen to me when I stop thinking? Just because I have no other options I will keep trying and hopefully something useful can happen

    Have you found any success?

      • mtalib
      • Posted March 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm
      • Permalink

      A very good question, and one I’m taking the time to reflect upon now.

      Overall I would say that the result has been mixed. I’ve succeeded to some extent in shutting down the constant analysis and over thinking that was a major component of my life. I’ve replaced it with a more focused analysis that I try to tune in only on a specific issue or problem where I feel that logical analysis would be a helpful tool.

      What have I replaced it with? To a great degree I’ve found that the only things that work are acceptance and silence. Replacing it with intuition or emotion doesn’t solve the problem, just changes it. For me, thinking ends when I bring myself to accept the way things are. It ends when I ask myself whether the way things are is unsatisfactory enough to make me do something to change it. If the answer to that question is no, then I try to put away that particular thought pattern or issue and try to live in the moment a bit more.

    • James
    • Posted March 8, 2009 at 8:23 pm
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    I’ve been doing a bit of this in my quiet times in the mornings.

    Apparently, according to Christian Monastic practices, when you meditate, you’re meant to be still – and silent – and just listen.

    That means quieting these internal thoughts “the voices in my head”… and its really hard to do.

    Right now I’m trying for just 5 minutes of complete mental silence – just listening – just sitting – just waiting – being still before God.

    Its really hard.

    The only thing that can get me there is prayer. And the only thing that can hold me there – in that silent moment, where you can feel time slowing down to the true pace of eternity – is prayer.

    Its about the most relaxing thing I’ve done – and its one of the main things thats keeping me sane – with the work that I’m doing.


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