The Restless Mind - The Constantly Thinking Mind
By Remez Sasson
The natural tendency of the mind is to be restless and constantly thinking.
The restless mind jumps from thought to another, allowing thoughts to come and go incessantly, from morning till night, giving us no rest for a moment. Most of these thoughts are not exactly invited; they just come, occupy our attention for a while, and then disappear, making place for others.
Thoughts are the like clouds drifting through the sky. Like the clouds, they are not permanent. Due to their incessant movement, they distract or attention and disturb our focus.
Thoughts also resemble the waves of the ocean, which are always in a state of motion, never standing still. The mind always thinks and analyzes whatever it contacts. It likes to compare, to reason, and to ask questions, and to constantly indulge in such activities.
Everyone has a kind of filter in the mind, which allows it to accept, let in certain thoughts, and reject others. This is the reason why some people occupy their minds with thoughts about a certain subject, while others don't even think about the same subject.
- Why some people are attracted to football, and others don't?
- Why some people love and admire a certain singer, while other people don't?
- Why some people think incessantly about a certain subject, and others never think about it?
This is due to their mental filter.
This is an automatic unconscious filter. We never stop and say to certain thoughts 'come', and to other thought we say, 'go away'. It is an automatic activity. This filter was built during the years. It was, and is beingc onstantly built by the suggestions and words of our parents and teachers, and by the people we meet, and as a result of our daily experiences.
Every event, situation, or word, has an affect on the mind, which produces thoughts in accordance with them. The mind is like a thought factory, working in shifts, day and night, producing thoughts.
The mind also gets thoughts directly from the surrounding world. The space around us is full of thoughts, which we constantly pick, let pass through our minds, and then pick up new ones. It is like catching fish in the ocean, throwing them back into the water, and then catching new ones.
This activity of the restless mind occupies our attention all the time. Now our attention is on this thought, and then on another one. We spend a lot of energy and attention on these passing thoughts, most of them being unimportant, wasting our time and energy.
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This is lack of freedom. It is as if some outside power is always putting a thought in front of us, making us pay attention to it.
It is like a relentless boss constantly giving us a job to do.
This shows lack of inner freedom. We enjoy real freedom only when we are able to choose our thoughts or still our mind. There is freedom, when we are able to decide which thought to think, and which one to reject. We live in freedom, when we are able to stop the incessant flow of thoughts.
Stopping the flow of thoughts might look like an infeasible feat, but concentration exercises and meditation, can eventually lead to this condition.
The mind is like an untamed animal. It has to be taught self-discipline and obedience, concentration and meditation, and this will lead to control of the mind and thoughts, and to becoming the boss of your mind.