Many of us live with the understanding that to turn off our personal chatter and quieten our mind involves us having ‘to do’ something, to either distract ourselves or refocus our attention.
Some of us are even unaware of how busy minded we have become. We live with a revved up speed of thought and don’t recognize its significance in our struggles with productivity, procrastination, and relationships.
We sometimes only realize the scale of our mental speed when it slows down enough for us to notice it. Much like hearing a noisy drill on a construction site next to our office, we don’t realize how intrusive and loud it is until it stops momentarily before then starting up again.
We all have an innate pull towards habits and pastimes to help us: holidays, hobbies, yoga, cycling, alcohol, walking, watching movies and our phones! The list is endless.
What if our understanding of having ‘to do’ something in order to quieten our mind becomes the obstacle?
The ‘No Strategy’ Strategy
You’re in the office, feeling stressed, under pressure and your personal chatter is on full volume – you can’t ‘see the wood for the trees’ type of chatter. Out of the blue, you have the thought to go for a walk to clear your head. You don’t really have time for this because you’re up against a deadline. Nevertheless, you go and it works out great; your head clears and you complete your work with ease.
Do we recognize the ‘thought’ to go for a walk or do we recognize the ‘walk’?
It is when we believe we have found a strategy in taking a ‘walk’ that we can easily overlook something simple and profound – the fact that we had the thought in the first place.
In my experience the more we recognize and value this, the less we stifle our ability to respond intuitively in the moment.
Relying upon what was helpful yesterday might not be what’s helpful for us today.
What is helpful is to recognize the potential of our own psychological abilities. That we have an unlimited resource of answers finely tuned and available to us in every moment.
These three common misconceptions are what help to drive a busy mind:
1: That the state of our mind can be affected by anything outside of us.
2: That a still mind is something to work towards, achieve or practice.
3: That the louder the mind becomes the more relevant and worthy of attention it is.
As part of my work with groups and leaders, we will take time to reflect upon these points. Time and time again, it results in people experiencing a quieter mind with absolutely no effort and without having ‘to do’ anything.
When we fall asleep, what are we doing?
Absolutely nothing. The moment we drift from being awake to asleep, we are not trying ‘to do’ anything.
You can’t think your way to a quiet mind!
I’m not suggesting that to quieten our minds we need to fall asleep. But, what this helps us to recognize is that much like our bodies, our minds have an intelligent way of functioning and thriving inspite of us.
Our mind is designed to thrive and we thrive with a quieter mind. We intuitively know this because it feels good!
It is when we stop trying to manage and control our thinking that our minds have an incredible innate capacity to self-correct. We all have a natural buoyancy to return us to a quiet and clear mind. Much like when we are searching for an answer and then stop trying and bingo the answer appears.
It is normal to lose sight of what it is to have a quiet mind. It can become a distant memory even unfamiliar territory. A quiet mind can even be confused with being apathetic, lazy, and only suitable in certain situations.
We all have the potential and freedom to access a quiet mind anytime and anywhere. It is our natural state in which we thrive!
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