Sometimes we run accidently to a whirlpool of thoughts. This could sink our goals down to the bottom of our busy everyday life to be buried there. We need frequently to hop-on hop-off between technical and managerial knowledge and self awareness and self development practices. That’s crucial to balance our life between internal work and external work. When we focus only on the external work, i.e. doing the maintenance, analyzing it and so on and, we forget about our internal response to what we are doing externally then we shall feel uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable and distracted by internal stumbling thoughts and feelings that is reflected on our physical body would restrict our forward progress.
That’s why in our articles we hop-on and hop-off between managerial and maintenance articles and self development and well-being articles so we can together reach a balance between spiritual and physical work.
When on a new road, you are feeling anxious, looking for the way and, can’t see your next turn. At this moment any sound around you is frustrating, distracting and pressing your anger and fear buttons. Why? Because we have an internal program that runs subconsciously to make us focus on what might go bad. The ultimate target is to ensure our safety. If you let your mind wander in this situation, you will get lost from the track of your goals.
How the whirlpool of thoughts was generated?
Thoughts in our minds are flowing in the form of streams whether consciously with mindfulness or unconsciously in the background. Our brain is all the time doing its job to make all the available data in his storage closets ready for us. Our mind is capable of sensing any situation in the vicinity of our energetic body even if we are not focusing on it. It brings the closest ideas stored in our memory files to the top together with the feelings stored when filing this memory.
When we pay attention to these stimuli whether a headline in the news, the sound of an angry neighbor or the smell of a cozy baked cake in the oven, this launches a stream of thoughts. These thoughts either move us backward on the timeline to remind us of past events. Or, draw a picture of the future with color shades of our memories about these events
The stream of thoughts in our mind is generated from old situations we had practiced, listened about or watched even in the social media. All these sources are stored in our mind and they pop up when any new similar situation is there. The mind tries to tackle it from the old perspective which won’t serve us in every time.
We want to reach a status of a calm clear mind because then we: receive inspirations, listen to our soul, see guidance that is all the time there around us, see new opportunities, new roads, new life experiences.
How to reach a Clear Calm Mind?
To reach to this status where we can see new opportunities around us instead of the old repeated paths we need to be aware of the present moment. The stream of stored thoughts hide the present moment.
Usually the whirlpool of thoughts runs around an old memory or a future anticipation. When you manage to see both the current moment and the distracting whirlpool of thoughts, the whirlpool will fade away. Repeat this with every coming thought. To reach to a silent gap while watching a flower for example; that’s when you are not thinking about its colors, its scent, the bee around it, how it grows that lonely in the wild or in a pot. Just then you will listen to this inner little whisper telling you: let we do this or go there or call someone and, that’s all. The inner true guidance wont grow as a stream. It will be just a whisper. That’s why it is lost in the noise of our restless mind, streams of thoughts and external distractions.
To calm down the thoughts, focus your attention for few seconds on a repeated sound out there. If you can’t find it listen to your breath or follow your chest movement. That’s why many gurus suggest doing this practice in the nature beside a tree, a flower, even some moss on a rock. Then after those few seconds, catch the thoughts that are coming. Ask yourself: is this thought serving me a solution or a guidance?
Is the thought stream flowing through our mind useful?
Sometimes, we might need a stream of focused thoughts when doing our regular activities. However, it won’t show us something fresh. Fresh thoughts come after silence gaps.
Can you remember a situation where you spent part of the night in the chaos of thoughts about a next day event? When the next day came and this event is here, you showed spontaneous reactions that you can’t relate them to all your thoughts from the previous night . That’s typically when you are in an exam. The thoughts pop up to you with the answers because all your mind closets are open and ready.
On the other hand, if you quiet your mind, it will whisper a new idea as an answer. You don’t know where this idea came from and then you label it creative. When you squeeze you mind trying to find an answer, 9 out of 10 times, you won’t find it. It can only pop up spontaneously from the stream of thoughts. Or, if you want a new answer; take a deep breath and rest to the awareness inside you. Then the new answer will pop up.
Practical steps to slow down the whirlpool of thoughts and find new escapes
How speedy is this flow of thoughts, is merely our choice. If we allow our minds to rush freely the thoughts stream, that’s how it will do every time. This occurs if we surrender that this is the normal way and we have no control over it. To have control over anything begin by being attentive to it.
STEP1, COME OUT OF THE THOUGHT STREAM.
Whether we practiced for some time the slowing down of thoughts or that’s the first time to hear about, it all starts by noticing the thoughts running in your mind and relating them to here and now. Most of the time in the here and now, none of these thoughts are real on the ground. They are just illusions created by our memories and feelings.
For a moment while you are watching this stream of thoughts move your attention to your breathing or to anything around you. The clock tickings, a rotating fan or, the sound of silence is enough when you can find nothing to listen to. You can watch Deepak Chopra – BREATHING – Meditation Session here. Keep your attention there for a few seconds or minutes don’t push your self hard. Don’t push your mind to stop any thoughts and never ever blame him. While you are shifting your attention to anything outside your thoughts stream it may bounce back. Don’t panic and return it again to what you deliberately have chosen to focus on.
STEP2, Return back from the silence gap and ask:
WHAT WE WERE THINKING ABOUT BEFORE THIS PAUSE?
You will find that the flowing stream of thoughts is coming back but much slower. Even you can be aware of each thought while it is arising and passing by your mind. By repeating those pauses:
- you will start to feel better.
- Your emotional reaction will be less intensive.
- The pause periods will contain less stray thoughts
Step 3: Control the quality of thoughts
Understand your thoughts
Now that the pace of thoughts is slower you can watch them more clearly. What are the thought patterns running in your mind? Is it ending all the time in a sad memory or in a time when you were worried and anxious? Is it reminding you of the results of the past experiences that you were not satisfied with?
Are the thoughts projecting a coming scarcity or fear? What you will do if you lost your job? What if one of your loved ones is badly sick? How you will live if markets are closed and you can’t get your needs? Can this project work after all the effort I put in?
Change THE QUALITY OF THOUGHTS
If you found that your thoughts were on the negative side of everything whether past or future, don’t worry!!.
It is your ego or self trying to keep you alive and safe by alerting you from everything. It is doing this since humanity’s creation and will continue forever. What your ego is proposing to you as thoughts are just a recommendation of what it thinks you should be aware of. Buying in to the thoughts and delving deep in it and allowing it to stimulate your emotions is your choice.
STEP 4, INTRODUCE NEW THOUGHTS
Start by acknowledging the alerts you received. Then, schedule some time to create an alternative plan or what we call Plan B.
Then follow that by introducing new questions about the thought patterns you noticed. What if my project succeeded? How shall I feel then? Not all Markets will be closed, can I rational my consumption and get only what I need? Am I really still angry from the neighbors of my old neighborhood? Can I change my grieve for my mother’s death to some charity actions?
The crown of all questions: How can I be happy now? This will open the door to Select new Thoughts!
Sometimes we run accidently to a whirlpool of thoughts. This could sink our goals down to the bottom of our busy everyday life to be buried there. The stream of thoughts that created this whirlpool hides the current moment and distracts us from what we should focus on. Usually the whirlpool of thoughts runs around an old memory or a future anticipation. When you manage to see both the current moment and the distracting whirlpool of thoughts, the whirlpool will fade away.
You can follow those 4 steps to get out of this whirlpool of thoughts
- Shift your attention from the stream of thoughts to your breath or to a repeated sound as the ticks of a clock till you feel a silence gap
- Return back from the silence gap and ask your mind: what we were thinking of before this pause?
- Pay attention to the quality of thoughts
- Ask different question that will force your mind to bring positive answers as: What if my target is achieved?
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