How to tackle with overthinking and personal life issues which I can not share with my strict family
Asked by Qwerty
Thank you for your message and sharing.
I understand how difficult it is to try stopping your thoughts. I could imagine how hard you have been trying and how frustrating to feel that nothing is working.
We can't stop our thoughts, but the more we practice being mindful of the present, the better we can catch ourselves with our thoughts and develop an alternative response to them, and learn to let go.
During moments like this I remind myself of the teachings regarding worries, it consists with a 2 part questions:
1. Is this problem within my control? If so, then this problem will be solved given time and the right intervention.
2. Would worry about it make any difference? If not, then is it worth it to sacrifice our time and mental health worrying over something that (1. can't be solved anyway / 2. will be solved anyway)?
This is definitely easier said than done, therefore as a fellow human being, I am working with you to pay attention to what is good, what is kind rather than our worries.
Obsessive or consuming thoughts can make living miserable when you are plagued by them, but this very situation can become the invitation to transcend the mind and be free of suffering forever.
Can you stop obsessive thoughts? - If you could, it would be great, but the truth is that it's slightly more complicated than just suppressing your thoughts which at most you can do for a few seconds. Plus suppressing thoughts is even worse than enduring thoughts. It builds up a lot of negative energy inside.
So how to stop these stops thoughts? The secret to stopping these thoughts is to detach from the mind because You cannot fight the mind with the mind. Let's look at this in more detail.
What Causes Obsessive Thoughts?
If you generated the thoughts, you could've controlled them too.
The truth is that you don't generate thoughts, the mind does. And the mind is on auto-mode most of the time.
You can see this for yourself; can you predict what you will think 30 seconds from now? If you can't how can you assume that you are generating the thoughts?
If you believe that you are your mind, that's a false notion again.
If you are your mind then how can you observe the thoughts? So you must be separate from the mind to see what the mind is doing.
The mind generates thoughts, which are mostly just energy forms. These thoughts pass through like clouds. We identify with some of these thoughts and obsess over them.
So in truth, all thoughts are just neutral energy forms; it's your interest or association with the thoughts that make them obsessive. If you can understand this truth, you have taken the first step towards getting rid of obsessive thoughts.
How to Stop Obsessive Negative Thoughts?
If you are asking this question, ask yourself another question - "is this question not another thought? It's a thought about killing thoughts".
All your attempts at suppressing and stopping thoughts fail because you are using the mind to stop the mind. The policeman and thief are both the mind; so how can the policeman catch the thief?
So you cannot kill the mind by force. The mind dies its own death by the poison of disassociation.
What gives power to a thought? - Your interest. If you have no interest in a particular thought then it loses its hold over you.
You can try this out now. Let the thoughts flow through your mind but don't take interest in them. Just stay as a bystander or a watcher and let the thoughts float.
Initially, you might have a hard time watching thoughts because of your inherent habit of associating with each thought that arises.
It helps to know that you are not your thoughts, that thoughts are just energy forms created in the mind. Why does the mind create thoughts? No one knows - it's just something it does, why bother. Do you ever ask why does the heartbeat?
With a little practice, you will get really good at watching thoughts and not involving yourself with them.
You will stop giving power to thoughts by not giving them your interest. Thoughts die immediately when they are deprived of this fuel of interest. If you don't associate with the thought or give power to the thought, it will wither away quickly.
What Are Thoughts?
Past events get stored as memories. Your mind conditioning and beliefs are also stored as memories. All this is unconscious storage; the mind does all this in auto mode.
Perceptions and interpretations are created in the mind based on its past "external" conditioning and also it's natural conditioning (genetics). These interpretations, perceptions, and judgments come up as thoughts in the mind, and they can be positive or negative depending on the mind's conditioning.
Thoughts are generated based on past incidents/memories, future projections, and interpretations of the present life situation. It's like a computer trying to predict or conjure up projection based on the data it has collected so far.
When thoughts are negative in nature (thoughts of worry, anxiety, stress, lack, resentment, guilt, etc.) they produce resistance to the movement of your life, and this resistance is felt as suffering. Negative thoughts will always stand in resistance to the movement of your life, like blocks of stone in the midst of a swift current of water.
Life is a stream of pure positive energy and hence any negative thought will stand in opposition to it, causing friction which is felt as suffering in the body.
The thoughts in your mind gain power from your attention and interest. Your attention is the fuel for your mind. So when you give attention to consuming thoughts in the mind, you are unconsciously fueling it and thus attracting more momentum for these negative thoughts.
The momentum of negative thoughts in your mind will slow down, and ebb away, automatically when you stop feeding your attention to it. Stay as an open space of awareness without focusing your attention on the negative thoughts of the mind, and soon they will lose their momentum.
You can focus on the positive thoughts generated in the mind, and thus develop a positive momentum in your mind. Every time your mind produces some positive thoughts, e.g thoughts of love, joy, excitement, abundance, beauty, appreciation, passion, peace, etc, focus on it, milk it, and give attention to it.
This will cause your mind to attract more positive thoughts and thus build positive momentum.
Whenever the mind thinks negatively, don't give it attention or interest, this will cause the ebbing away of the momentum of negative thinking. It's really that simple. Once you understand the mechanics of how thoughts gain momentum in the mind, you will be in total control of your state of being.
The Practice of Watching the Mind
All you need to do to get rid of obsessive thoughts is to watch the mind without getting involved.
You will get really good at this with just a little practice. This practice, or "sadhana" as called in Hindu scriptures, is the root of awakening from the illusion of the mind.
Without trying to understand this practice just implement it. The more you try to understand the more mind gets involved. Just watch the mind and you will soon see that you are not the mind at all.
That the mind is like a machine in your head that generates thoughts based on your attention/interest. Be free of your mind by depriving it of your interest. This is the only direct path of becoming free of the mind.
Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to talking with you more :)
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)