Thoughts keep pouring into your mind.
Memories keep welling up.
For hours, and sometimes days, you go on thinking about things people said about you, discussing them in your mind, and sometimes, reaching completely wrong conclusions.
You dwell on hurt feelings, real or imaginary, and let mental images of fear, failure and problems arise in your mind.
Do you recognize this situation? Do you like it?
Our mind and thoughts carry us away, constantly pulling us here and there.
Our thoughts are like a butterfly that flies from one flower to the next, never being still more that for a few seconds.
This situation distracts our attention, wastes our time and energy, makes us tired mentally and physically, and brings stress and strain.
How can we change this situation?
We can change it by becoming more mindful and attentive of what goes on in our mind, developing the skill of watching our thoughts and feelings without following them, and by developing a certain degree of detachment.
Doing so, will free us from the constant mental chatter that occupies the mind, and would strengthen our control over our mind.
Watching Thoughts and Being Mindful
Here is a simple exercise to learn to watch your thoughts:
- Try to be attentive of what is going inside your mind.
- Watch the state of your mind and your emotions when talking with people. Ask yourself why should you let their thoughts and emotions affect you.
- Realize that you don’t have always to react impulsively or automatically to thoughts, words and actions. You can learn to choose your reactions.
- By watching your thoughts you will not be so compelled to be carried away by every thought that enters your mind.
- Watching your thoughts as they enter and occupy your mind brings calmness and inner peace into your mind.
Here are two excerpts from the book Inner Peace in the Busy Daily Life relating to this topic:
“The mind is a wonderful tool, much more sophisticated and powerful than the most advanced computer or software, but too often it is undisciplined and impatient.
It is usually quite restless, and cannot stand still for a moment. This is why it is so difficult for most people to concentrate their attention on one thought or subject, for more than a short moment.
No wonder the mind has been compared to a monkey, because it jumps from one thought to another, just like a monkey that jumps from one branch to another.”
“You can learn to stay calm and relaxed, and prevent undesirable emotions and thoughts from affecting you without your control or consent.
You can learn to listen peacefully to someone recounting his problems or painful story, without feeling tense, without getting emotionally agitated, and without letting the other person’s emotional state affect you.
This technique is called detachment.”