It sounds something like this (or a variation of it) :
“You closed down your school. Now you have no insurance. Is it really smart to not have insurance? Aren't you getting too old for these kinds of risks? What if you get in an accident and you still don’t have insurance? What if a seriously disturbed person attacks you, stabs you in the back and you need hospitalization?Or worse, what if you are abducted by aliens, have one of your internal organs removed and then thrown into a ditch? ''
And so on and so on. With so many changes in my life and so much on my plate these days, that little voice had been getting louder, and oftentimes it felt productive to indulge it . It wasn’t ( see alien abduction scenario above). I bet you already know that this type of incessant thinking takes away far more than it gives.
Being the happiest I have ever been for years is one thing. Staying like this all the time is another.
And all because of this little bastard in my head that won't shut up.
What is exactly this voice, this mental noise?
(taken from an online dictionary)
- Thoughts that repeat themselves like a tape that keeps playing the same tune.
- Reliving negative past situations or visualizing fears over and over again.
- Dwelling on the past or fearing the future. This prevents us from enjoying the present. The past is gone, and the future is the product of our present thinking and actions. The only time that exists is now, the present moment.
- Compulsive inner monologue that disturbs our peace and makes the mind busy.
- Never being here. Always thinking on something else, instead of what we are doing now. If we always think on something else we never enjoy the moment.
- Constant analysis of our and other people's situations,
reactions and behavior. Analyzing the past, the future, things we need
or want to do, our day, yesterday and the distant past.
It’s hard to be fully present and have fun when a part of you is getting lost in a mental maze.
On average 70% of our thoughts are negative or redundant. What a waste of mind power!
How can we expect our collective experience to improve when most of the time we are immersed in negative thinking?
Doing something while judging, analyzing, worrying, fearing, or regretting in your head is like experiencing the world from inside a plastic bubble. You can see and hear everything, but it’s all diluted.
I don’t believe it’s possible to completely silence the nagging inner voice that constantly interprets and judges. That little mental hamster wheel will spin on occasion all throughout our lives.
“I love how Michael Singer describes this inner voice as a completely whacked roommate:
''If somehow that voice managed to manifest in a body outside of you, and you had to take it with you everywhere you went, you wouldn’t last a day. If somebody were to ask you what your new friend is like, you’d say, “this is one seriously disturbed person. Just look up neurosis in the dictionary and you’ll get the picture.”
Another powerful author, Annie Lamott, calls this voice a radio station that is turned to the channel “you are screwed” constantly. It’s mean, vicious, terrified or horrendously grief-stricken.
But I do think it’s possible to slow it down and even stop it for lengths of time. It’s possible to make presence, peace, and fun the norm and not the rarity.
It’s actually quite simple. Silencing the inner voice means experiencing more joy, because when you are experiencing joy you are fully present without any conscious effort on your part.
There is an off-switch for the mind. It's the present moment. Bringing your entire focus into this moment can stop the chatter. But even if you feel like you touch this space, you'll notice that it evaporates quickly. Your mental programming has been taught your whole life to continue constantly.
So what's the plan?
I've tried mental mindfulness and meditation, emptying my mind, journaling and all the rest of the hype, but they seem either too much work or they won't work at all. I wanted something that would come easily and naturally and without any conscious effort on my part (yeah, I am that mentally lazy). So I came up with a better plan:
Incorporate things you enjoy into your day
I actually noticed that when I was having fun, real fun, the mental chatter would come to a halt. Can you remember a time when you lost yourself in a task? Not lost in thought, but lost in the doing of the task itself — you were concentrating fully, you thought of nothing else. The world disappeared. It might have been work — you might have achieved that state of mind known as “flow” — or it could have been a hobby, playing sports, yardwork, fixing something, anything.
Everybody’s idea of what constitutes fun will be different. Some people love thrills like bungee jumping while others prefer sensual pleasure like massage. Some people love to play board games and others long to dance. Do you know what things you really enjoy? What activities do you get completely consumed in so that time passes and you don’t even realize it? Make a list of your top ten fun activities including things you would like to try because you think they might be fun. The list doesn’t have to include anything to do with self-development, keeping fit or other noble causes, just things that are pure fun to you no matter how silly, childish or indulgent they may appear to other people.
The point of this post: we can choose to quiet those annoying thoughts by immersing in fun activities, and get better at it with practice.
Love, peace and inner calm