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Q&A: How can I get a Grasp on my Thoughts?

WEEKLY Q&AQ: Dear Soul Analyse,

I have been fighting with my thoughts for a long time; I don’t want to be consumed by negativity but I feel I have no control over what I think. 

I don’t choose what to think, thoughts just pop into my head and I can almost feel the negativity run through me when I become deeply engaged in any negative chatter in my mind. 

Trying to stop thinking just doesn’t work, I’ve tried and failed miserably. I’m pretty sure I’m missing a trick somewhere, with so much talk about mindfulness, and stilling the mind, there must be a better route to getting a grasp on my thoughts. 

I’m not looking for advice on meditation, it only stops the noise in my mind when I am practising. I’m more looking for a method for calming my mind wherever I may be, so I don’t have to be sat in a certain spot to find stillness. 

A: Dear Reader,

The solution to overcoming compulsive thinking doesn’t involve thought, or even trying to stop yourself from thinking, because in doing so you are using thought. The solution lies in shifting from thought to awareness.

It is when you silently observe the thoughts taking place in your mind that your sense of identity shifts from being the thought to being the watcher.

There are two types of thoughts that we have – passing thoughts, which often relate to the present moment, and pop into our minds and then quickly leave. And we also have repetitive thoughts, the type that have nothing to do with what is happening right now, and often relate to the future or past – these are the thoughts to look out for.

Become aware of repetitive thought patterns that play in your mind over and over again and notice the chaos that it creates, without feeling part of it. It’s important that you don’t judge any thoughts, or try to battle with them as this defeats the object; you are attempting to create peace and dissolve conflict, which cannot be achieved with a fight.

When you recognise yourself as the awareness behind the thought, the voice in your mind subsides. The ultimate aim is to maintain this awareness because, until doing so, you are trapped in your thoughts

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