Thoughts On (Not) Thinking

23 Jan
“You won’t find faith or hope down a telescope, you won’t find heart and soul in the stars…” ~ The Script

There are many things that I would love to blog about, many things that I would like to say. But my days of hanging it all out to dry are over. But, for what it’s worth, here is a little look into my current state of being.

In the last 12 months I have been on quite an adventure. Albeit an internal one. My list of things to do are still pinned up there and I will get to them eventually. But the list wasn’t so much about getting things done; it was more a tool for getting out of my head and figuring out how to be. And I have come a long way in 12 months.

All of my lessons in the past year seemed to have added up to one truth. Thinking is overrated. Not only is it overrated, but it is damaging and destructive and the source of most of my unhappiness. After spending years honing my academic mind, teaching myself to reason logically and holding rational thought above all others, I have found myself realising that thinking has got nothing to do with anything. Most of the time, it simply gets in the way of the important things.

“All the things that truly matter — beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace — arise from beyond the mind” ~Eckhardt Tolle

I thought logic and reason was the right way to navigate through life. I thought I had to have a reason for everything. Justify everything. Explain everything.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Ever since I started this blog, I have had the following quote floating about on it: “Don’t try to reason with your heart or feel with your mind. For just as the heart knows no logic the mind can’t lead you to your soul.”  Today this quote means more to me than it ever has. 

Everywhere I look, I see people who are wrapped up in thinking and trying to figure things out. Is this right or is that wrong? Why did this person act that way, what does that person think of me? Why did this happen to me? The mind can be a dangerous thing. It tricks us into thinking about life instead of living life. The mind tricks us into trying to find solutions to problems that have no solutions. It tricks us into spending all our time thinking, it tries to lead us into over-thinking. Over-analysing reminds me of those optical illusions where the steps keep going up, but instead of getting anywhere, you just keep ending up back at the same point. Over-thinking can quickly lead to melancholy, helplessness and unhappiness.

I am finding all of this harder to explain than I thought it would be. Let me try point form, I seem to be rambling here (!):

  • Too many people resist “what is”. Resistance to an external event/person/process is futile. You can’t change it. It is what it is. I can’t say this enough, it is what it is. Stop thinking about how wrong it is, or how it should be different. Stop placing blame and dissolve the resistance. Stop fighting the things you can’t change and embrace “what is”. Why fight and be miserable about something you have no power to change?
  • Of course, if you can change this external event/person/process, you should. But (and it’s a big BUT) you can only ever really change yourself. Your attitudes, your perceptions, your judgements. If you start thinking that anyone other than you should change, switch back to embracing and non-resistance (back to step 1).
  • Sometimes you may have the option to remove yourself from the situation/person/event. If you can, and if you want to, you should. Sometimes this may mean walking away from a long queue, turning around in traffic or, in extreme cases, removing yourself from a person or situation that is damaging or dangerous. And if you make the decision NOT to walk away… Well then, stop resisting, fighting, moaning and judgement and embrace what is (back to step 1).
  • When you find yourself trying to figure out if something is “right” or “wrong”. STOP THINKING. Take your judgements out of it. Take what you “think” other people’s judgements are out of it. When you start thinking and putting in steps of logic and reason, you have already lost your way. When you start thinking in terms of “right” and “wrong” you have already gone too far and need to take a step back. Take a step back into stillness. Take a step back into not-thinking. Give yourself a moment and ask yourself what is best for you. Sit with your true self and without judgement or fear of the consequences and ask yourself what is most important. Consider all alternatives and observe what feels most comfortable. What feels most true for you. It comes back to going with your gut. Going with that instinct that is inside all of us. Call it what you will. Some call it God. Some call it the universe. The angel on your shoulder. Your inner voice. Whatever it is, it is the truth and divinity within you that always knows what is right. Stop fighting what you know is right for you. You don’t need to explain or justify. It’s your truth and it is what it is (back to step 1).
  • Stop worrying about what other people think. Stop worrying about why people act the way they do. When you start analysing the actions and activities of others you are stepping back into the murky ground of thinking and criticising and judgement and condemnation. You NEVER know what drives other people to do what they do. And you never will. Why people do what they do and why they act the way they do is their business. Their business. It has nothing to do with you. The best you can be is be an example (be the change you want to see), but you will never change other people or their motivations or their actions or their judgements. It is their business. They have their own lessons, their own path. You can’t change that. It is what it is (back to step 1). Leave people to sort out their “stuff” and pay attention to your business only. Stop watching others and start being concerned with yourself.

So this year, I want to embrace what is. I recognise that I need to move into non-thinking. For all my clever words, it is not all that easy to do.

I am plagued with questions and confusion and judgement and criticisms and wondering what’s right and wrong. I get caught up in blame and catch myself trying to shift responsibility onto others. Why can’t I forget? Should I do this?  Should I do that? What do I really feel? What is right? What do I want? What do I really want? What relationship is right for me? What family is right for me? What is best for my child? Where should I live? What should I do? How should I live? Am I living my life properly? Did I do the right thing? Why did I do what I did? What should I do now? What do people think I should do? What do people think of me? Why are people unkind? Why is everything so hard? Why do I have so much to do? Why don’t I have more?

But then I take a step back and see that it is what it is. And right now, it is perfect. It doesn’t need to be anything more than it is. I can embrace the way I feel about people and not wish anything to be different. I can love without regret or expectations or limitations. I can let go of hurt and stop expecting people to be anything other than exactly who they are. I can forgive myself for not doing and being everything that I think I should be.

I can let go of everything and dissolve my unhappiness and resistance to everything… But only when I remember to get out of my head, remind myself to be still and remember to listen to my heart.

And that is the hardest part!


One Response to “Thoughts On (Not) Thinking”

  1. Cazpi January 24, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    It’s like you can hear my mind – well the questions anyway 🙂 Thank you for a superb post, I may need to print it out, stick it up, and keep reminding myself of the sage advice.

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