February 2010 - Stillness: Let Go of Excessive Thinking
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Have you ever noticed how many thoughts go through your mind every second? Have you ever tried to stop thinking, or noticed how difficult it can to quiet your mind, even a little, for example while meditating?
Your mind, specifically your conscious mind, can be your friend, coming up with useful steps on how to handle various problems or issues, but it can also get in the way of finding true solutions to your dilemma because of the excessive chatter of the mind. If you consciously listen to this chatter you will find that much of what it tells you is untrue. It is often based on fears, past failures, or a habitual ways of seeing things. Your conscious mind is trying to protect you, but usually does so by bringing up the negatives of what happened the last time you tried this or that.
If you always listen to your inner negative prophesying machine, and that’s what your conscious mind is, you’d never make any changes in your life. Here’s something else to consider: Albert Einstein coined a wonderful saying, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” In other words, in order to solve a problem, you must move yourself, or shift out of your current way of seeing things to find true solutions. One way to do that is to learn to quiet your mind, to let the excessive chatter go, so there is room for new ideas and inspiration.
As a Clinical Hypnotherapist, many of my clients have told me how hard they have “mentally” worked on their own problems, just to get no where, or at best they may understand “why” they are experiencing the problem, yet the problem remains. That’s what I call: “analysis to the point of paralysis!” The problem with analysis alone is it doesn’t change the unconscious patterns or old tapes that produced the problem or behavior to begin with, and that’s why so many people choose to use the powerful tool of hypnosis to clear out the source of the problem. As a process, hypnosis quiets the noise of the conscious mind and allows you to access the unconscious root cause and release it.
On the topic of learning to quiet the mind, I want to share a beautiful article by Eckhart Tolle: “Stillness: Let go of excessive thinking and see how everything changes.” This article originally appeared in the Light of Consciousness journal in Autumn 2007.
When you are present in this moment, you break the continuity of your story, of past and future. Then true intelligence arises, and also love.
“This teaching isn’t based on knowledge, on new interesting facts, [or] new information. The world is full of that already. You can push any button on the many devices you have and get information. You’re drowning in information.
And ultimately, what is the point of it all? More information, more things, more of this, more of that. Are we going to find the fullness of life through more things and greater and bigger shopping malls?
Are we going to find ourselves through improving our ability to think and analyze, and accumulate more information, more stuff? Is “more” going to save the world? It’s all form.
You can never make it on the level of form. You can never quite arrange and accumulate all the forms that you think you need so that you can be yourself fully.
Sometimes you can do it for a brief time span. You can suddenly find everything working in your life: your health is good; your relationship is great; you have money, possessions, love, and respect from other people.
But before long, something starts to crumble here or there, either the finances or the relationship, your health or your work or living situation. It is the nature of the world of form that nothing stays fixed for very long – and so it starts to fall apart again.
The voice in the head that never stops speaking becomes a civilization that is obsessed with form, and therefore knows nothing of the most important dimension of human existence:
“What does it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose yourself?”
It has been said that there are two ways of being unhappy: not getting what you want, and getting what you want.
When people attain what the world tells us is desirable – wealth, recognition, property, achievement – they’re still not happy, at least not for long. They’re not at peace with themselves. They don’t have a true sense of security, a sense of finally having arrived.
Their achievements have not provided them with what they were really looking for – themselves. They have not given them the sense of being rooted in life, or as Jesus calls it, the fullness of life.
The form of this moment is the portal into the formless dimension. It is the narrow gate that Jesus talks about that leads to life. Yes, it’s very narrow; it’s only this moment.
To find it, you need to roll up the scroll of your life on which your story is written, past and future. Before there were books, there were scrolls, and you rolled them up when you were done with them.
So put your story away. It is not who you are. People usually live carrying a burden of past and future, a burden of their personal history, which they hope will fulfill itself in the future. It won’t, so roll up that old scroll. Be done with it.
You don’t solve problems by thinking; you create problems by thinking. The solution always appears when you step out of thinking and become still and absolutely present, even if only for a moment. Then, a little later when thought comes back, you suddenly have a creative insight that wasn’t there before.
Let go of excessive thinking and see how everything changes. Your relationships change because you don’t demand that the other person should do something for you to enhance your sense of self. You don’t compare yourself to others or try to be more than someone else to strengthen your sense of identity.
There’s nothing wrong with doing new things, pursuing activities, exploring countries, meeting new people, acquiring knowledge and expertise, developing your physical or mental capabilities, and creating whatever you’re called upon to create in this world.
It is beautiful to create in this world, and there is always more that you can do.
Now the question is, are you looking for yourself in what you do? Are you attempting to add more to who you think you are? Are you compulsively striving toward the next moment and the next and the next, hoping to find some sense of completion and fulfillment?
The preciousness of Being is your true specialness. What the egoic self had been looking for on the level of the story – I want to be special – obscured the fact that you could not be more special than you already are now. Not special because you are better or more wretched than someone else, but because you can sense a beauty, a preciousness, an aliveness deep within.
When you are present in this moment,
you break the continuity of your story,
of past and future.
Then true intelligence arises,
and also love.
The only way love can come into your life
is not through form,
but through that inner spaciousness that is Presence.
Love has no form.”
Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher and the author of many books, including The Power of Now, A New Earth and Stillness Speaks. This article if excerpted from his recent work, a book/DVD package called Eckhart Tolle’s Findhorn Retreat: Stillness Amidst the World, © 2006 by Eckhart Tolle, Eckhart Teachings Inc., published by New World Library, www.NewWorldLibrary.com
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