Do you find it difficult to shut off the constant chatter of the mind when you need to focus, meditate, read or study?
Do you find it difficult to shut off your mind when you need to rest or sleep?
Do you find lack of concentration and distracting thoughts overwhelming, when you try to concentrate, meditate, or follow any personal growth or spiritual growth technique?
Someone has recently asked me the following question:
“I was just wondering if it was common for people, in a sense, to get “worse” before they get better. I’ve been doing so much reading and have started meditating and doing affirmations. I feel that I have been having a harder time shutting my mind off and almost feel a bit overwhelmed. Is this a normal part of the process? And when can I expect things to improve?”
When starting with meditation, affirmations or other inner growth methods, people sometimes seem to experience more acutely their lack of control over their mind. They feel more strongly the lack of concentration and are unable shut the mind off. This is quite common, and you should be patient and strong enough not to give up.
Why does this happen?
You are trying to change deep rooted habits, and this evokes inner resistance. You are trying to change your thinking patterns, and the mind does not accept this change. The mind does not want you to calm it down, nor shut it off. Both the body and the mind refuse to calm down, and this creates resistance and difficulties in shutting off the nonstop thinking of the mind.
When on the path of spiritual growth or self improvement, people become more sensitive and aware of distractions and obstacles, which tend to stand out more clearly, and might even grow out of proportions. This makes one feel that things are getting worse.
When your focus is not strong enough, any attempt to focus the mind, awakens inner resistance.
External distractions and obstacles don’t disappear just because you are on the path of inner growth, on the contrary, often, you become more sensitive and more aware of them. This of course makes shutting the mind off more difficult, and makes you feel you are not making any progress.
Ordinarily, one is not aware of the endless stream of thoughts that pass through the mind. It is only when trying to concentrate or meditate that you become aware of the many thoughts passing through your mind. At these times, you also become aware how weak is your focus and how it is almost impossible to shut down the chatter of the mind.
Benefits of Shutting Off the Mind
The remedy and solution is to stay patient, show more self discipline and resolve, and continue meditating, affirming or visualizing, and in time, you will be less aware and less disturbed by external distractions and by the resistance of your mind.
Shutting off the mind is a skill you can gain, but this requires some inner work on your part.
Shutting off the mind means calming down the nonstop chatter of your mind. It does not mean becoming unconscious and it does not mean sleep.
When you develop this ability, you expand your awareness and can see life in a broader sense. Your intuition becomes sharper, your mind becomes sharper, and it becomes easier to shake of worries and fears.
Constant thinking, throughout the day, wastes a lot of energy and time on unimportant matters, distracts your attention, weakens your focus, and increases the possibility of making mistakes. Learning to shut off the mind protects you from all this and brings calmness, composure, self control and mental mastery into your life.
Remember, shutting off the mind does not weaken your mind, on the contrary is strengths it, and makes it a better tool.