Stop Being a Victim of Compulsive Thinking. MeditationSHIFT is one of my favorite sites for musings mindful. They consistently and fruitfully mine the same territory — don’t fall victim to your thinking mind — don’t get lost in compulsive thinking, or “stop following your mind wherever it leads.” So often we take for granted that we are in control of our minds. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
This is the essence of mindfulness and meditation. They are practices that allow you to cultivate awareness of your compulsive mind and its non-stop activity. They help you develop the skill of noticing it all without getting caught up in it. They train you to move your attention away from the mental drama instead of indulging it.
As such, you are no longer victim to the next thought, emotion, or urge that pops into your head. And, you break the cycle of conditioned behavior that culminates in unskillful decisions, actions, and reactions.
Here’s a great website I’d never heard of before, meditationSHIFT. They take a studiously non-religious stance (“What we teach isn’t something mystical. It won’t conflict with your religious or philosophical beliefs. And, you don’t have to sit in an uncomfortable, cross-legged position.”), yet are clearly conversant with Buddhist terms. Here’s a very nice post: Equanimity and impermanence.
What strikes me is their very down-to-earth approach to thoughts, and how meditation can change our relationship to thoughts. From their front page:
“Our minds are compulsive. They narrate the world around us, commenting on and judging everything (including ourselves). They constantly produce thoughts, emotions, urges, and stories that play on a loop in our heads. All of us carry around the effects of this non-stop mental noise. We get weighed down with worry, fear, doubt, and regret. We struggle with stress, anxiety, and depression. Relationships suffer. Work suffers. Health suffers. We suffer. And our minds drone on and on. There is a way out, though.”
Would you do mind training if it helped you with the endless, pointless thinking? A Sakyong Mipham quote courtesy of meditationSHIFT, on their daily musings page, August 12 entry.
“Many of us are slaves to our minds. Our own mind is our worst enemy. We try to focus, and our mind wanders off. We try to keep stress at bay, but anxiety keeps us awake at night. We try to be good to the people we love, but then we forget them and put ourselves first. And when we want to change our life, we dive into spiritual practice and expect quick results, only to lose focus after the honeymoon has worn off. We return to our state of bewilderment. We’re left feeling helpless and discouraged. It seems we all agree that training the body through exercise, diet, and relaxation is a good idea, but why don’t we think about training our minds?”