Addicted To Thinking
In my previous blog post, I have shared about how to free yourself from your mind. Today, we are going to go deeper. If you have missed out my previous blog posts, you might want to read them first before we go deeper here.
My previous blog posts:
Focus On the Now
Instead of “watching the thinker”, you can also create a gap in the mind stream simply by directing the focus of your attention into the Now. Just become intensely conscious of the present moment.
This is a deeply satisfying thing to do. In this way, you draw consciousness away from mind activity and create a gap of no-mind in which you are highly alert and aware but not thinking. This is the essence of meditation.
In your everyday life, you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself.
For example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. Be totally present.
Or when you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap, and so on.
Or when you get into your car, after you close the door, pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath. Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence.
There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice: the degree of peace that you feel within.
Disidentify from the Mind
So the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger.
One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.
Your mind is an instrument, a tool. It is there to be used for a specific task, and when the task is completed, you lay it down.
As it is, we would say about 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. Observe your mind and you will find this to be true. It causes a serious leakage of vital energy.
This kind of compulsive thinking is actually an addiction. What characterizes an addiction? Quite simply this: you no longer feel that you have the choice to stop.
It seems stronger than you. It also gives you a false sense of pleasure, pleasure that invariably turns into pain.
Why should we be addicted to thinking?
Because you are identified with it, which means that you derive your sense of self from the content and activity of your mind. Because you believe that you would cease to be if you stopped thinking.
As you grow up, you form a mental image of who you are, based on your personal and cultural conditioning. We may call this phantom self the ego.
It consists of mind activity and can only be kept going through constant thinking.
The term ego means different things to different people, but when you use it here it means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind.
To the ego, the present moment hardly exists. Only past and future are considered important.
This total reversal of the truth accounts for the fact that in the ego mode the mind is so dysfunctional.
It is always concerned with keeping the past alive, because without it – who are you? It constantly projects itself into the future to ensure its continued survival and to seek some kind of release or fulfillment there.
It says:”One day, when this, that, or the other happens, I am going to be okay, happy, at peace.”
Even when the ego seems to be concerned with the present, it is not the present that it sees: It misperceives it completely because it looks at it through the eyes of the past.
Or it reduces the present to a means to an end, an end that always lies in the mind-projected future. Observe your mind and you’ll see that this is how it works.
The present moment holds the key to liberation. But you cannot find the present moment as long as you are your mind.
Thinking and Consciousness
The predominance of mind is no more than a stage in the evolution of consciousness. Thinking and consciousness are not synonymous. Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought.
Enlightenment means rising above thought, not falling back to a level below thought, the level of an animal or a plant. In the enlightened state, you still use your thinking mind when needed, but in a much more focused and effective way than before.
You use it mostly for practical purposes, but you are free of the involuntary internal dialogue, and there is inner stillness. When you do use your mind, and particularly when a creative solution is needed, you oscillate every few minutes or so between thought and stillness, between mind and no-mind.
No-mind is consciousness without thought. Only in that way is it possible to think creatively, because only in that way does thought have any real power.
Thought alone, when it is no longer connected with the much vaster realm of consciousness, quickly becomes barren, insane and destructive.
Something Greater than the Mind
The mind is essentially a survival machine. Attack and defense against other minds, gathering, storing, and analyzing information – this is what it is good at, but it is not at all creative.
All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. The mind then gives form to the creative impulse or insight.
Even the great scientists have reported that their creative breakthroughs came at a time of mental quietude.
The surprising result of a nationwide inquiry among America’s most eminent mathematicians, including Einstein, to find out their working methods, was that thinking “plays only a subordinate part in the brief, decisive phase of the creative act itself.”
So we would say that the simple reason why the majority of scientists are not creative is not because they don’t know how to think but because they don’t know how to stop thinking!
It wasn’t through the mind, through thinking, that the miracle that is life on earth or your body was created and is being sustained.
There is clearly an intelligence at work that is far greater than the mind. How can a single human cell measuring 1/1,000 of an inch in diameter contain instructions within its DNA that would fill 1,000 books of 600 pages each?
The more we learn about the workings of the body, the more we realize just how vast is the intelligence at work within it and how little we know.
When the mind reconnects with that, it becomes a most wonderful tool. It then serves something greater than itself.
The Power of Now
As we go deeper we can realize the importance and the power of now. Because only when we are fully living in the present, moment and now, are we free from the monkey mind.
I would highly recommend reading this book – The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle if you want to dive deeper.
Please feel free to share your thought or experience in my comment box provide at the bottom and I am more than happy to hear from you!
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Thanks for sharing this article. I enjoyed reading it.
I have heard about the book you’re recommending at the end of the post, The Power of Now, and it is on my “to-read” list for a long time now.
I will purchase the book and learn as much as I can from it. I’m a fan and a student of the human mind and would like to learn more from you as well.
What I want to say is keep up the good work and I’m looking forward to reading more from you.
Hi Ivan. Thank you and I’m glad that you enjoy reading my article.
In fact, I come across this book through a number of connection. I start by reading the book, The Energy Codes by Dr. Sue Morter, through a friend recommendation.
After that, through Dr. Sue Morter, I get to learn about this book, The Power of Now. I put it in my “To read” list as I were busy at that time with another book, Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by Dr. David R. Hawkins, recommend by someone too.
After I finish the book, this someone also recommended this book, The Power of Now. And later then I realise a lot of people I come across also recommend this book. So I thought I better start reading it.
I have tried to put what I have learnt from all these books not only in my meditation practice, but also in my daily life.
From what I see, everything is connected. From one book, connect me to another and another. I feel like it’s the universe is guiding and leading me to learn something deeper and deeper.
It’s great to read another profound article from you to train our minds to be at the moment.
I tend to be attached to the past when I was young, but one of my mentors enlighted me to only focus on NOW to avoid losing more stuff from my thinking.
I will like to read the book you have recommended, and it seems a good choice with quality time for myself. Thanks for sharing today.
Hi Matt. Thank you for sharing!
Yes, it’s really worth reading and you will not regret the time you spend on it.
Just invest a small amount of money and your time to help yourself to have more realisation for your well-being is so much worth it.