Observing Your Thoughts When You Are Alone
- Reduce as many distractions around you as possible.Turn off your phone, television, music devices and anything else that makes sounds or is visual. Distractions are called distractions for a reason. It’s because they distract you from yourself. This can be challenging to do, though, in the modern-day world, because stimulating, distracting activities are addicting. But, like any addiction, you have to cut it at its core to get anywhere.
- In order to start to fully hear the thoughts from your mind, you need your personal space to be completely quiet. If you have the TV blasting and the phone ringing every five minutes, it will be virtually impossible to tune into yourself.
- You don’t need to live a silent life for the rest of your life but only until you see that you have cleared out the troublesome thoughts, many of which have been stored in there for a long time and are now just on repeat. It could take anywhere from three months to one year of practice, but it will definitely be worth it in the end when you see that your mind is crystal-clear and trouble-free!
- Notice the different types of thoughts in your mind, many of them painful.For instance, you may see anxiety, stress, guilt, resentments, grievances, sadness, tension, and worries. An unexamined mind is usually an out-of-control mind filled with negative thoughts. Many mindfulness teachers state that this kind of thinking is from the psychological part of the mind and serve no helpful purpose other than being hurtful and damaging to you and sometimes in how you may see others, too.
- It’s helpful to think of awareness as a kind of fire, and it is through this fire of observation that you burn out old, trapped thoughts and begin to dismantle the much lower frequency, psychological part of the mind.
- The majority of meditation teachers believe that awareness is the most effective way to achieve lasting peace in the mind versus having it in pieces for so many of one’s waking hours.
- Observe how most thoughts relate to the past or future and rarely to the present.It usually comes as a surprise to those new on the mindfulness path as to how much time is actually spent in the past and future. Many even think that they are being constructive by going back and forth between these two time zones. However, all it really does is consume unnecessary mind energy with very little being accomplished. For the most part, focusing anywhere other than in the present moment is a waste of time.
- Don’t resist or judge your thoughts, just observe them impartially. If you try to fight them, they will only grow in power, and you will have fallen victim to the mind’s clutches once again. The key is to just watch them without giving them any commentary. Other than the power of observation, you will not need to do anything else because this is, in and of itself, the true power.
- By guiding your mind into the present, it has no choice but to do exactly that, where you will see that most of the time, everything is more or less okay in your life. You begin to see that many of your thoughts were just phantoms, meaning completely imaginary based on fear and worry. If you think about it, these two states of mind do absolutely nothing except scare you and make matters worse because of how draining they are to your psyche.
- Test how inaccurate the thoughts in your mind can be when everything is going fine in life.You will see that, indeed, they try to pull you away from a satisfactory time in your life through an endless stream of unnecessary, negative mental chatter. Thus, you can clearly see how preposterous the mind is when left to its own devices.
- Until examined closely, many people believe that the majority of their thoughts are useful and constructive. When, in actuality, they are bringing you down. So this particular experiment is a highly effective way to prove that the psychological part of the mind, until one becomes more conscious, consists of a lot of derogatory thinking.
Incorporating a Mindfulness Mantra
- Say the phrase “be here now” when you do activities by yourself.You may think that only sit-down meditation is effective. But it’s not true. It can be just as powerful to train your mind to stay in the present when you are doing your daily activities, like washing clothes, cooking, cleaning, brushing your teeth, etc. The key to mindfulness is to notice each and every part of what you are doing, while not thinking about other things. It can be easy to move through the various activities in life like a whirling dervish but then you miss moments that could have been enjoyable, for instance feeling the enjoyment of a steaming, bubbling bath. Remember life is in the journey, not the destination!
- Mantras are one of the best ways to begin to move away from the mind while at the same time dissolving embedded, negative thinking. Many find this hard to wrap their heads around but if you think about it, the past is over and the future will never come. So the only moment you ever have access to is the present one. It can take time to fully let go of what happened to you in the past and where you’re going in the future, but once you do, it’s extremely liberating!
- Stick with the mantra no matter what the mind tells you.It's used to being in charge and doesn’t like its authority questioned. Like a professional boxer, it will fight you at every corner but don’t give in! You’re onto its games, and you’re not going to believe all the crazy lies it tells you anymore.
- Many of the things you hear in your head aren’t even correct anyway. Often, they’re just things that someone told you or what you made up yourself somewhere along the way based on faulty belief systems. That’s no fun going through the rest of your life thinking things that aren’t even true! But, you do have to become aware of them first before you can get rid of them. Things we aren’t conscious about stay with us, so starting with awareness first should be your top priority.
- Another big game of the mind is to say that trying to stay in the present is the most ridiculous thing you have ever done. Don’t believe that either! Your goal is to stay with the mantra until you stop hearing so much noise. Eventually it will comply, it just takes time to let the mind know that you are now holding the reins, not the other way around.
- Be forewarned; it is usually painful to look at your thoughts. In fact, in mindfulness circles, the name for it is the "pain body.” It consists of a lot of old, yucky, negative mind residue and like all residue, it takes time to scrub away. When it gets challenging, keep in mind that your awareness is the brush to a clean and purified mind. Once you get down and dirty, getting out of your head will rarely be a problem again. You’ll be on cruise control from then on!
- Saying a mantra as you do your daily activities is a powerful, ancient technique called “neti neti” in which you negate the thoughts in your mind to stay in the present. Meditation masters teach this technique for a reason; it really does work!
- Connect to your breath when you’re in a place where you can’t repeat the mantra.Sometimes there are people around, and it could look like you’re talking to yourself, otherwise! Though it could be a time to let your friends know how you're choosing to live in the moment these days versus being dictated by the limited constructs of what your mind says to you.
- You don't have to try and control the breath, just focus on it going in and out on its own. The breath can help greatly in warding off destructive emotions, like anger, frustration, and anxiety, which otherwise feel like they are taking over your body from the inside out.
- What happens with emotions is you often feel you have lost yourself and in a sense you have, for the moment anyway. One of the best tools you have in life is to just breathe, as the breath can only be in the here and now. It can help you to quickly get your balance from an upsetting situation or person, and the slower the better with each inhale and exhale. But not too intense. You don’t want to suddenly look like a fire-breathing dragon or like you need an inhaler!
- When these moments come over you, tell yourself to take it easy and relax back into the present. Before you know it, you’ll be back to feeling like yourself again and in control. Keeping in mind that those negative emotions were never the real you anyway and are meant to be let go so that they don’t get stored in the body.
Noticing the Promptings from Your Being
- Focus on what your being is saying to you versus the mind.Buddha, along with modern-day teachers, teach that it’s these intuitive promptings from your higher self that are the real you, not the mind. The mind only represents your conditioning and ego. By moving away from it and into your being is when you are truly at your best. Everyone, in the ordinary consciousness state, moves into the self and away from the mind on occasion. But, with practice, you can live from this place of no-mind or no-thought most of the time.
- People who have learned how to be in no-mind report that they only think a small percentage of the time and when they do, it’s a pure, unadulterated form versus being all over the place.
- Pay particular attention when you have no thoughts or are in a no-mind state.When you first start, this period of no-thought will be short, but it will gradually increase over time. When these periods do occur, however, you will feel a certain peace and stillness inside that you may have never felt before. Know that you are on the right track with your natural state of being, which has been obscured by the mind for so long. With practice, this sense of peace and stillness will deepen with you and will stay no matter what’s going on around you.
- Trust that these intuitive prompts are enough to carry you through life.Many people have such a vested interest in their mind that they are the ones who have the most challenging time getting away from it. So the less you buy into the antics of it, the easier time you will have trusting that your higher self knows what’s best for you.
- Allow negative emotions to wash over you and out.In other words, don’t hold on to them. What you will find with practice is that they will go as easily as they came into you. Also, like the mind, these emotions are not who you are as a being. However, they are a guide and are definitely needed in life. The key, though, is to not react to them on the inside.
- Understand the only thing you are really ever expected to take care of in life is the present moment.When you look at it this way, because it actually is accurate, it’s a much simpler way to live.
Maintaining Presence in Your Life
- Use your mind only for critical thinking situations and planning purposes.Only use your mind for constructive purposes once you see that you are able to keep it mostly in the present. The best use of the mind, actually, is for critical thinking situations and for planning purposes. It can be easy to believe that you need to be thinking a lot about life in order to get you through. But, oftentimes, it’s just a hindrance to what you are doing.
- A great bonus to having worked on your mind is to see how much clarity you have now when you do choose to think! It’s true, too; you can choose when you want to delve into a matter, and the rest of the time enjoy life, as you’re meant to!
- When planning, though, make sure it’s actually planning and not just worrying about upcoming planning. If you find that it is worry, then the mind is, most likely, still controlling you versus you being in control of it.
- Go back to saying the mantra if you find that you drift back into your old thinking pattern.It definitely takes time for mindfulness training to solidify itself.
- If you have to go back to the mantra, trust that you are much farther along from when you first began.
- Keep your mind in the present by not keeping too many things from your past.Many people believe that the past is much greater than the present moment but the problem with it, in actuality, is that the past really is over. It’s time to move on. By continuing to focus on it, just keeps you stuck and prevents you from moving forward in your life.
- Many experts who teach presence caution against dwelling on outdated shares on FB as well as old photographs from a happy time in your past. They even suggest not wearing clothes or using things that have been in storage for too long as they have an old, energetic influence to them. The key is to surround yourself with things that are vibrant and fresh. They may look perfectly fine on the surface but are still energetically stale. To a greater or lesser degree, everything has presence.
- Spend time in nature to stay in touch with sound of aliveness and presence around you.When you live in the present, you actually can hear a sound from the universe if you listen carefully. Often, the reason people can’t hear it is because their ordinary, conditioned mind is jumbled up with too many thoughts. Focus, too, on the sound of the leaves, the birds and the water and all of the other sounds that you miss when you're too caught up in your mind.
- Accept, don’t resist, what happens in life.Non-acceptance of life’s moments is what causes suffering. This, however, can be a little tricky during challenging situations with other people. There are those instances where you have to let people know that you don’t accept what it is that they are putting out in the universe.
- The key here is to let them know clearly and emphatically without becoming angry or out-of-control. In other words, on the outside you may have to express yourself strongly so that people get it but you can still be accepting on the inside that this is, at times, just how life expresses itself.
- Through the process of awareness, you are no longer giving your thoughts a place to thrive; essentially you have taken away their breeding ground.
- Many meditation experts teach that the mind is the root of all suffering, so by practicing these tools, you could be positively altering the quality of your life until your last day on the planet. How much success you have in doing this really just depends on how earnest you are in wanting to receive real relief from your mind.
- By embracing these techniques, you will have begun to free yourself from the conditioned mind, which is the outcome of your past along with the collective cultural mindset you inherited.
- As you may have guessed, becoming more present in your mind is extremely powerful. By doing so, you are ushering in a new dimension of consciousness and though many people are still over-identified with the thinking state, this new state of being is the direction that humanity is moving in. By starting so soon, you will be way ahead of the game!