” We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think, Think, Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.” – Anthony Hopkins
Exactly so, Anthony!
The reason we suffer is we seriously believe that the content of out streaming thoughts, the thoughts themselves, are consciously and purposefully constructed. It’s my idea, and I’m morally and ethically responsible for the content. Except that’s a lie and always has been.
We don’t consciously construct thoughts, we notice extracted information that’s created by our entire system, and the conditioned separate personality uses the information to express thoughts to others. Communication and self expression are two attributes that help define a Human, Being. At times the focus of attention will start looping information, particularly if it’s dramatic, to draw attention onto itself, the old conditioned game of self-obsession.
This process also allows conditioned separate personality to be self abusive in order to gain attention. Constant self-focus by worrying, obsession, and countless stories, and in this way conditioned separate personality remains the exact center of the universe. Conditioned personality craves the focus of attention because it can only exist when it’s in attention. Where does the sense of “I” go when it’s not in attention? It’s absent, until an input is interpreted and directed at self. Then suddenly “I” have a problem.
But when I’m watching a movie, reading a book, driving, or some other experience that requires attention, the sense of “I” no longer exists. There’s only doer, doing. Experiencer, experiencing.
One of the dynamics I’ve noticed about the stream of thought is that it’s continuously running. The stream of thought is an endless supply of information, extrapolations, judgements, and story after story. And we spend endless years attempting to contain, manipulate, and control our “thoughts.”
But what if the streaming thoughts are running the same way our heart beats, continuously and without conscious help, autonomically? I don’t have to “think” about keeping my own thoughts going. Nor must I take responsibility for the thoughts themselves. We know we are conditioned to believe we own and control thoughts. We use phrases like, “Don’t think like that” and “Just think of something else” or my favorite, “think happy thoughts.” (I just became slightly nauseous.)
But, what if the streaming thought process evolved the same way the beating heart did? What if it’s to our advantage to have access to constant flowing changing ideas, matching the flowing changing field from which we developed? What a nightmare to have to actually formulate and construct each separate thought, just as it would be a nightmare to have to think each beat of our hearts.
So what to do? When obsession and stories lead the journey?
I have to do something. When I’m feeling lazy and want to feel better I do something. When my heart is beating hard because I’ve been working hard I do something, I rest. The stream of thought is impacted by that same system that involves the heart. Obsessive thoughts? Do something. Depression, Do something. Worry? Do something. Just can’t move because your too sad and depressed? Do something. Dying of terminal happiness? Then throw a party, do something.
Albert Einstein said something to this effect: Don’t rely on people, places, and things for your joy and happiness, it’s better to embrace a goal, a purpose. A life’s direction. A journey. Along the way life happens, and whether the people, places, and things in life are supporting or detracting, there will always be that purpose as the focus of your attention.
Of course it’s all easy to say, and when in the midst of wrestling with streaming thoughts it’s hard to remember. So, refocusing on a goal will not automatically appear.
It’s why we practice. Returning to focused attention exactly where body and breath resides in space and time. Asking, what is my purpose in these moments?
Another day of opportunities and noticing.
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