As the 100th post on my blog, I’m pleased and honoured to be part of Sindy’s 11 Day Cooperative Blogging Clearing Challenge. You can read all about it here 🙂
Thoughts really can’t be quantified. I mean, one could start with a seed that germinates and grows into a huge tree or mountain, one thought linking to another forming this whole new tapestry. Some thoughts could be brought up by a person or situation or word which triggers a particular emotion within us, creating a lot of “what if” thoughts which can be nice or be full of horrors. Thoughts are there…good or bad, always there…whether we are conscious of them or not.
Thoughts can cloak us in a fog causing us to become “lost in our thoughts”, they can lift us up , drag us down, light up light bulbs giving us amazing ideas, make us feel amazing, amazingly sad or bad; or just completely blah.
There are thoughts about every thing : We think about work when we are at home, we think about home when we are at work, and sometimes it works the right way round. We think about our past – either in a positive way or negative way, we think about our family and friends, we think about what we want, what we need or what is it that we want or need – because some of us still struggle with that all important question. Most times our thoughts can be totally random and jumbled.
I used to have many negative thoughts, about myself, how I looked, what I was worth and a lot of other stuff. I still have negative thoughts but I would like to say that they aren’t as many as before and the most important thing is that I am now aware of those thoughts and I can stop myself, choose to acknowledge them, question them and at times have been successful to changing them into positive thoughts, or at least choose to disregard them with a “Thank you, but no thank you!”
Reading books in the genre of spirituality or New Age you will invariably come across the advice that we have to become more aware of our thoughts and also to learn how to still our minds. In fact, stilling of the mind is an important side effect of and to most extents a part of meditation.
Can a person tell you how to still your mind? That’s the important thing isn’t it? Maybe the other question that is as important is does everyone go through the same process the same way, and therefore the duration to reach that level of stillness within, will be the same? I think we can safely say that the answer to this question is no. We all will go through our own process of learning or should we say re-learning how to still our thoughts.
There are a few things which I feel can help us to re-learn how to still their minds.
The first thing is to be aware of your thoughts – The way I would describe it to someone is to imagine yourself actually waking up and consciously observing your thoughts. It’s literally working to “look at your thoughts”. It will start slow. There will be 9 times out of 10 in which your thoughts will pass you by, but the way to increase those odds is to keep doing it…every day…for a few weeks….a few months….and maybe a few years. I’ve been at it for about a year now, seriously looking at how I think and what I think, questioning those thoughts, finding out why and all that, and some STILL pass me by!
The second is to learn how to clear your thoughts – Basically it means to learn how to empty your mind, which leads to stilling your mind. It is also in a way learning how to gradually stop your mind from running amok. It’s to remove all those unconstructive thoughts and remaining calm and centered. It is also one of the ways to heal. As we empty ourselves from all those bottled up emotions and thoughts, we keep clearing all the muck stored within us, and as we keep doing this process at some point the balance tips over to the side of calm and centeredness.
In the book Journeys into Emptiness the author talks about how Carl Jung wrote down all his thoughts and his dreams. It was like emptying the vessel of the subconscious mind to allow for more things to come up. He also says that many of those who are artists or writers do this. By practicing or doing their art and writing they are in effect emptying themselves each time. It’s like the story of the monk who poured the tea continuously into a tea cup without emptying it….as it filled up and tea spilled all over. The moral of that story was, if we keep all our thoughts / emotions bottled up within us, one day it’s just going to spill over and make a total mess out of everything.
Below I have listed out some of the ways you can do this:
1. Journal – If you like writing then write. Keep this a private journal. For your eyes only. Write. Write and write every thing
that comes into your mind. It’s okay if just when you put pen to paper your mind goes totally blank, just write that down. “I’m sitting here with my new journal and pen wanting to write whatever comes to mind, and it goes blank! Aaargh!!! What’s up with that?!” …then watch as you continue from there 😉 I tried it once when I was doing a healing exercise. I started just like that….ended with one and a half pages of writing done.
If you can’t remember how to write with a pen and paper (c’mon, I know there are those like me. We are so used to typing on the computer, writing seems alien after some time 😉 ) , then start a journal on your laptop, lock the document up with a password or start a private online journal.
2. Write down ALL the negative things that you think of on a sheet of paper. If there is one thing that most of us can do is to write a list and maybe even a thesis of the stuff we hate, we don’t like, we don’t want to do and all that. So keep writing. Once done, go outside or over a large sink with running water available and burn the list. The idea is that as you write all that stuff down, it’s turned into energy which flows out onto the paper – your negative thoughts which is energy is turned into impulses which power your writing hand, which in turn transfers that energy into the words that are written. So, when you finally burn that list, it is being transmuted into a higher vibrational energy of light and dissipates with the smoke 🙂
3. Find a good trusted sounding board. This was something I used to do when I was younger. I had friends who were heroes because they sat through my rants and raves, my moaning and crying nodding their heads at the right time and allowing me to pout, rant and rave, not saying a single word. As you keep talking and talking about the same crappy stuff, trust me, one day you’re going to suddenly realize you feel nauseated even thinking of thinking of talking about it! That’s when you’ll know that you are over it! Now, the caveat to this method will be that you must do this with the intention of purging it out from your system and your friend really shouldn’t be goading you on! Remember, sounding boards are silent. Their only purpose is to sit and listen to you – or at least pretend to listen to you 😉
4. Meditate – Forget the usual definitions or perceptions of what meditation is supposed to be. This will be meditation your style! Start with 10 minutes. Just sit, close your eyes, breathe in and out deeply three times then just wait and watch. Just watch your thoughts. As each thought comes “look at it”. Any thought that makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, if you feel your body tensing up, heart beat increases…take a deep breath, tell it “Thank you but I release you”…then breathe out. Imagine that thought coming out together with your breath, being zapped by a lazer beam into nothingness. Any thought that makes you feel light and happy, you smile, say “Thank you” and imagine it flowing by and entering a beautiful room or garden, leave it there and continue to sit and watch.
You know, don’t be surprised when you do this the very first time and nothing comes to your mind. I had that experience once. We were at a meditation class and we were asked to try Vipassana for just 10 minutes. It’s basically a meditation where you don’t move at all, except for breathing and all you do is observe your thoughts. That first time I did it, I closed my eyes and said “I’m observing my mind”. 10 minutes felt like a minute and there was NOTHING! No thoughts at all! It was like my mind froze up because he knew I’d be watching! It was actually pretty freaky…awesome, but freaky. I tried it again the next day at home….sigh..it didn’t work so well that time 😛
5. Colouring mandalas – This is another therapeutic way of clearing your mind and calming yourself. It is actually a form of meditation. As you colour the mandala, let whatever thoughts or emotions which crop up flow. See it, feel it, then let it go. Concentrate on the colours, focus on the process, enjoy your creating process.
Now, traditionally mandalas are coloured from the inside out. However, I’d like to gift to you two different mandala templates that you can choose from to print and colour from the OUTSIDE IN. As you colour , observe your thoughts and let them go. As you move from the outside in, my hope is that your mind becomes calmer and less disturbed by your thoughts 🙂 I’ve already infused that intention into these mandalas. If you do try them out, let me know how it went 🙂
This post is written in conjunction with Sindy’s (bluebutterfliesandme) 11 day clearing challenge. You can click here to go to her blog which lists the other 10 bloggers who are participating in this challenge 🙂
The 10th post will be posted by Julianne.