To Think or Not to Think?

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

That is the question, and here’s when we should flip the switch.

Social media and the internet are echo chambers of information, both true and false.

I read that 50% of the information online is false. It was in the book Truth vs. Falsehood by Dr. David Hawkins. I don’t know if he was pulling this number out of his ass, but I wouldn’t doubt it.

The last 200 years of technological advancements have culminated in this unprecedented time.

A time when info is overflowing & thinking is running rampant.

The Overthinking Age

Voicing your opinion has its place in the world.

Let’s stop, do what we do best, and think about this: What would the world be like without thinking?

  • Quiet, uninteresting, and boring
  • Mainstream news outlets would go out of business
  • Nothing valuable gets done

Obviously, if this were to suddenly happen, humanity would slowly dwindle. However, it can also make us sick when we do too much thinking.

Now imagine a world where everyone has their overthinking caps on:

  • Making problems out of thin air
  • Inventing unnecessary terms and concepts that serve to confuse rather than simplify life
  • Nothing valuable gets done

You notice that at both extremes nothing would get done.

The reason is that communication ceases in both scenarios. The over-thinker can’t communicate and neither can the airhead.

My SOLUTION to this dichotomy is simple: know when to think and when to just exist.

When Should you Think?
  • School
  • Work
  • & anytime you must solve a problem

Well, duh…this is most of the world’s default mode. We learn what to think about, and we need it to solve problems. The bigger the problem you solve, the more impact it has on the world.

But we never learn WHEN to think. Thinking just sort of happens.

If we are to control when we think, we need a way to stop thinking and just exist.

When Should you just Exist?
  • Socializing
  • Exercising and Playing Sports
  • Sleeping

I used to think a lot when socializing and as a result, didn’t really do much talking. My mind is empty when playing basketball. And I am currently working on the sleeping side of things.

Existing is difficult because, by default, humans like to think.

If you’d like to learn how to exist, read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. For a man who doesn’t think, it’s genius:

“Be present as the watcher of your mind — of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react. Notice also how often your attention is in the past or future. Don’t judge or analyze what you observe. Watch the thought, feel the emotion, observe the reaction. Don’t make a personal problem out of them. You will then feel something more powerful than any of those things that you observe: the still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher.”

The silent watcher, as he calls it, is always there. Overthinking just makes it seem like it’s not. Knowing how to cultivate this silence is a learned skill.

In short, here’s when you should exist:

  • When you need to relax😌

You know when you should think and when you should not. Now, alternating between the two requires practice. This is what that looks like for me.

Photo Generated using Lexica AI
Flipping the Switch from Thinking to Being

Going from being to thinking is how we are raised, so I won’t talk about that. It would, however, be interesting to see what our default would be if we were raised like monks.

But that’s not the point.

So, how do we go from thinking to just existing? And is it possible to do this on command?

After being a chronic over-thinker, I needed a way to become a silent-watcher.

I turned to meditation and discovered that going from thinking to existing is a matter of shifting your attention. And a bear is chasing you, shifting attention on command is possible. The shift is focusing on something other than your thoughts.

Meditation centres around the breath being the object of focus.

The breath is always with you, how convenient!

You are Always in Control

The lungs are the only internal organ that you can control consciously.

Given this ability, you are able to use them as a way to deliberately relax into the present moment. When you find yourself overthinking, shift your attention to deep belly breaths. This takes your focus off illusory thoughts and into the present moment.

When it is time to turn off your mind, or when you are overthinking, remember that the breath is your friend; he’ll guide you into the present.

And if one friend isn’t enough, look around at your environment. Start to become really curious about everything around you. Sadhguru, the popular yogi turned YouTuber, taught me to become intensely aware of the present moment. This means total acceptance of the present moment until thinking ceases.

“The fear is simply because you are not living with life, you are living in your mind.”

Sadhguru

Knowing when it’s appropriate to think may seem intuitive, however, knowing how to stop thinking and relax is not. We’ve reached a point where mindfulness has become mainstream.

Will you drown in the current of overthinking?

Or will you flow effortlessly with the river of the present moment?

Share & #sparkperception

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