Thinking is Overrated!
We are conditioned to think and do. Our society rewards thinking and doing. Our minds want to run the show and while our minds are powerful tools for the good, they can also manifest a great deal of trouble and unnecessary pain.
Proverbs 4:23 – (New Century Version) – Be Careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.
Proverbs 4:23 – (NIV Version) – Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Your heart and your mind, guard it, for it can run your life for the good or the bad. Our thoughts drive us into the past where we have regrets or into the future with worry.
If you want to catch up, you can access previous posts below:
Back in the Saddle
Inside out – the path to change (Part 1)
Rescue Yourself (Part 2)
Nothing Changes until YOU Do (Part 3)
Your Level of Emotional Fitness is the Key to, well, Everything! (Part 4)
You ever have a big challenge at work and the solution comes to you in the shower or during some other non-thinking activity. I seem to get mine when I am driving to or from work. Sub-consciously working on a problem or working to create something, boom, it just hits you like, Yes. But not in a million years could I have just sat there and thought my way to that solution or that idea.
See, your thoughts can literally overtake your life and create unconscious decisions that you hold onto, unless you create some awareness and consciousness around those thoughts.
Have you ever spun a story of what will happen if you make decision X or Y and almost how automatically your mind goes to the negative thoughts?
BEFORE anything even happens or BEFORE you even make a decision.
How about this one –
My job is a real grind, I should look for something new. (Which by the way, I hear daily) I have always wanted to try X, but immediately your thoughts turn to the risk of change and your comfort zone becomes home. But X does not pay as much and I hear it is hard to get a job in that field and I do not have all the right work history and well, the kids will be in college soon, so I will just suck it up for now. (I have thought this thought many times, trust me it is not useful)
We do not look for the possibilities, our minds are there to protect us from danger and risks. But how much of the risks and danger are made up by the mind and not real at all.
The mind is not concerned with hope and dreams. That is why most people will not share their real dreams, they are not logical. They do not seem safe. They do not create a sense of belonging or security. In fact, they could create the opposite, one of exclusion.
Hopes, dreams and passions come from the heart and cannot be made logical from the operating of the mind.
Have you ever truly held those stories out to the side and examined them as if the were part of someone else or something else? Have you asked how true they are?
You do not solve big problems by thinking your way thru them. If you talk to an artist or inventor they do not think their way thru to a solution or creativity. It is when they stop thinking that their minds open up to the possibilities that exist.
Creativity is unleashed when the mind is calm and quiet.
You cannot solve a complex problem by trying harder, thinking longer or doing more. The law of diminishing return exists for a reason. (That is why it is recommended to take breaks working on complex problems or come back to it later)
In fact, you cannot find peace, you cannot find yourself, your true self, if all you do is think and do.
Sometimes you just need to be and live in the now.
Less is More!
If I was not doing, thinking, creating or accomplishing then it was a waste of time.
For those of you that have read my first post from September Back in the Saddle, I found myself a bit sideways not that long ago. Very dis-satisfied with my work life and it was impacting my health, my personal disposition and spilling over into areas of my life that had nothing to do with work.
And this was not the first time I had found myself in this state. It has been repeated over and over for the last 25 years.
Why couldn’t I make the changes in my life I wanted to make?
Why couldn’t I be content with my current work life?
Why couldn’t I pursue my dreams and desires?
Why is that when I did take a bold move or pursue my dreams, things got dicey and I ran back to my comfort zone?
See the mind likes security and tangible thoughts. Your hopes, dreams and desires are not very tangible, at least not to the mind.
They feel uncertain. They feel risky. The mind wants to protect you from all that, so it can run you over and give you fictional thoughts and feelings that can create real fear for you.
I know, I have felt that fear and it is that fear that has kept me stuck at times.
So, what is the answer, how do you tap into more creativity, fulfillment, joy, peace and bring the mind under control, so that you can tap into your true self, pursue your dreams with confidence and create a source of truth for yourself.
Meditation (The underrated benefits of just being)
Yes, I resisted this for years. Look, I am not an expert on this subject, but here is what I do know.
I started a daily meditation practice back in March and yes it was hard, very hard for me to sit still and try not to think. Very hard.
But after about 8 months, I can tell you it is the practice I do not miss during the course of my day. I mean it is the one thing I do not miss, period. It is my lifeline to myself.
I usually start with 30 minutes in the morning and will also try to work in 30 minutes in the late afternoon or evening.
Now – Here is an article that summarizes the scientific benefits of meditation, if you need more proof it works – 76 things you might be missing out on.
I will provide more resources at the end of this post, but here is the difference adding meditation to my daily routine has made for me in my own words:
I am more productive and efficient with just about everything I tackle.
I have more energy – (lots more energy) – This is huge, as most of us are drained by the end of the day and get worn down by our daily responsibilities. I have found an extra gear in the evenings to do the things I love, not necessarily do more work.
I have certainly tapped into my creative side.
The negative thoughts are virtually non-existent – doubt and uncertainty have disappeared.
Fear and uncertainty have diminished significantly.
I have found my voice and myself.
Overwhelm/anxiety/angst does not exist.
Significant reduction in worry and stress.
Would you try something that would give you more energy, increase your creativity and eliminate the stress and worry from your life? I would hope so.
Is meditation the end all and solution to everything?
No, but I am telling you it has exceeded my expectations.
While I was looking just to quiet the mind, meditation has become a source of healing, power and calm.
Here are some resources I have used over the last 8 months:
Headspace – Great for those that have not meditated before. Unlimited access and many meditation topics to pick from. I do this one daily for about 10 minutes.
Chopra Center – I like the free series Deepak has hosted with Oprah, but the meditations in the library have been very good.
Calm – This is an app you can buy and put on your phone. I have not used it as much, but find it handy.
Book – Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch. Very good and short read.
If you want a deeper but practical perspective on the mind and the power of living in the present – I recommend The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. (A classic and put it on your must read list)
I recommend you start with Headspace, but the most important thing is to do it and stay with it. It may take a few weeks or even a month before you start to notice the benefits.
Some of you will have a hard time with meditation and I have heard that from some.
What can you do that would replace meditation and give you some of the same benefits?
I love to go for long walks as well. It clears my head and provides the same benefits. Some of you will resonate with prayer or reading something inspirational. I have talked to many that find this beneficial as well.
So, if meditation does not work per say, find a practice where you TURN OFF your BRAIN and stop thinking.
It is overrated.
Up Next – Take REAL Responsibility