Ever since the Coronavirus broke out, I’ve been spending a lot more time alone. Over the past few months, I’ve grown to truly enjoy it.
Now it even feels like there isn’t even enough time for me to go through all my tasks and hobbies everyday.
I’ve been using my time to learn more about mindfulness, spirituality and psychology. It feels absolutely amazing to indulge myself in these new realms of knowledge. It’s also a direction I‘ve been exploring for a while due to a change in my career path.
These learnings have been great, but in recent meditation sessions, I am starting to feel like I am losing a great amount of focus. This is also a growing concern in some of my daily activities. I find myself constantly being carried away by my thoughts lately when I should be focused.
When I am not learning, I think about my learnings, my in-life experiences, the past, the future…
Today, I stumbled upon a YouTube video of Eckhart Tolle answering one of his students’ question: How Do We Break the Habit of Excessive Thinking?
And by watching this video, I had an important revelation about myself —I am addicted to thinking?
How do I break this pattern of thinking excessively?
Haha, don’t we wish that money could pay off such an issue now?
Thoughts can be addictive, just like drinking, gaming or watching TV.
It is an important skill to have in life. It helps us feel in control. It creates a sense of self.
But when thoughts become excessive, our mind becomes a wild monkey — it’s hard to get past our speculations, expectations, and imaginations that are not always rooted in our reality.
From Eckhart Tolle’s video, here are few of my key takeaways:
- We think presence is supposed to be a place of “no thought” in mind.
But trust that presence is always there in the background, even when your mind seems busy with thinking.
- The key is not to understand more about this problem, or bring any intellectual analysis to my practices.
- Acknowledge and accept my thinking mind as it is.
- Know that this is what the mind does — it asks for my attention and tries to pull me in all the time. Once I know this, I can allow thoughts to arise, but I don’t need to follow them.
- Find my entry points into the present moment.
- Use simple techniques I’ve learned in mindfulness to help my body release tension first, then my mind may follow: soften my forehead, relax my eyebrows, drop my shoulders, loosen my jaw.
- Look around my surrounding. There’s no need to name everything I see. Try to see things without interference of trying to gain any concepts
(Intriguing, because this is an opposite approach from what I’ve been doing in my practice to arrive into the present moment).
Also, going back to one of my notes from SoundsTrue’s Power of Awareness class, while I acknowledge my thinking mind, I can also bow to it.
So if I’m sitting here feeling restless. Really feel what it’s like to sit in the middle of a storm of restlessness.
“And you begin to realize that the difficulty with loneliness, boredom or restlessness is not so much the state itself, but the resistance that we give to it. And that when the resistance is gone, these things all become workable.
It’s as if you are bowing to the feeling, as you acknowledge it with a kind of graciousness. And at the same time, there is a spirit of freedom, or spaciousness, with that bow.”
— Jack Kornfield
I‘ve had a lot of amazing learnings. But now it’s time to start practicing how to not let these information become a burden for myself, from finding presence and joy in my own life’s very moment.
Gaining freedom is a slow and repetitive process. The challenge in working with thoughts is that when they are emotionally charged, they can be very sticky. We might open out of them. And they will come again and again.
“After years of meditation practice, one of the most significant changes in my life has been my relationship to my mind. We’re still living together, of course. And we remain friends. But my mind and I are no longer codependent.” — Wes Nisker
Eckhart Tolle (2011). How Do We Break The Habit Of Excessive Thinking? [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTFDfR47dl4
Kornfield and Brach. (2020). Session02–03Transcript [PDF]. Retrieved from https://product.soundstrue.com/power-of-awareness/
Melody Zheng :)