I find myself mesmerised and hypnotised by thoughts, all the time, often without realising it. It seems many people do, and seek out ways to help themselves. With self help articles, videos, and books about calming the over-thinking brain, how to relax without your thoughts bothering you and ways to distract you from your thoughts. (For example with exercise, meditation, music, hobbies or rituals).
That’s all fine. But in my view, a lot of that is just dealing with the ‘symptoms’. And things like zen buddhism for example, gets to the root of the problem and changes the relationship we have to our thoughts.
I would argue, that thoughts aren’t meaningful or real, they’re mechanical and phantom-like. They’re a tool, and sometimes they’re the wrong tool for the job.
They have no basis in reality. They are an infinite fractal playground of ideas and concepts. We can only create a map about reality in thoughts, and a map is not the same as the territory.
Thoughts just happen, then we give them power over us, by putting our attention on them and our faith in them. And when we do this, it is possible to do the darkest things imaginable. Like kill yourself or kill and torture others. By believing such thoughts as ‘things will never get better’, or ‘ours is the true religion.’
To stop thoughts from bothering us; we don’t need to distract ourselves, we just need to stop putting our attention on them. Stop engaging with them. See them for what they are: just thoughts.
Energy flows where attentions goes.
We don’t have to listen, solve, or get away from them.
Let the thoughts come and go, even if they’re dark or scary thoughts. They can’t hurt us. Disengage, take your hands off the wheel. Drop the attention on them like it’s a hot potato. Don’t grab a hold of the thought, don’t wish it away. These are all forms of engaging with it, as if it’s means something, as if it can hurt us.
Allow the thoughts to be there, accept them, they will drift away like all thoughts ever have.
By Annie Charnley.
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