Saturday, December 5, 2009

When Your Mind Seems to Have
a Mind of Its Own

STOPPING the Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah,
Blah, Blah, Blah...

The other night I made the ‘mistake’ of reading a news article online about an hour before I went to bed. Yes, In my mind it was a mistake, because I know better (for me).

Typically I’m pretty selective about what I read. I’ve found that it’s just much, much easier to not plant something in my mind in the first place, than to try to get rid of it later. With that said, in case you’re wondering, I do not watch TV news, because I don’t own a television. That’s not exceptional. For me there’s just not a lot of content that interests me. It’s not any more exceptional than not having chocolate ice cream in the freezer, when you don’t eat chocolate ice cream.

Back to the topic: The article I read was about a murder in my former home town. The details were not particularly grisly, but there was enough there to ‘paint a picture’ in my mind, in other words – to ‘deposit’ thoughts in my mind. And even though I did other things before I went to bed, when I was trying to fall asleep, BING, BING – here came the thoughts about what I read. They were really more bothersome than upsetting. Nevertheless I didn’t fall asleep as quickly as I normally do.

I am so grateful for learning about objectivity from the Method – doing something with focused concentration. To say I used that technique a lot way back when I was feeling panicky is an understatement. It’s good. It works – like a charm.

There are lots of relaxation/quiet-the-mind practices that call for counting backwards from 10 to 1, or 50 to 1, or 100 to 1. The idea for the procedure I’m going to describe here I invented for myself when I was learning to meditate. With that said, I will add that I have passed it along to others who use it strictly as a mental health tool – and successfully to.

Ready? With this process, you don’t count backwards with numbers-numerals, you do it by spelling the words. It takes a whole lot more focus and concentration. And, you don’t say the word before you spell it. So it’s not speaking or thinking ten – t e n. It’s t e n, then n i n e, etc.

Here goes:
t e n
n i n e
e i g h t
s e v e n
s i x
f i v e
f o u r
t h r e e
t w o
o n e
z e r o

If you want to get fancy, you can also picture the letters as you think them and then “see” them or the entire word in your mind’s eye. Sort of how it would look if you were printing them on a blackboard or whiteboard.
Notice the sample? All the letters are lower case. That’s how I “see” mine. All uppercase, or a mixture is fine too. Whatever you want. You are the creator, the graphic designer. More elements: What color are your letters? What color is the background?

The more detail you add, the more your mind has to work on what you are directing it to do – keeping it busy with NO time for unwanted thoughts to slide back in. Any thoughts that do try to come back are stopped by an imaginary (maybe not-so-imaginary) ‘busy signal’, a ‘no admittance’ sign, an error message… Like the recorded message you get when you call your internet connection provider because you can’t access email or anything else and voice says: “All circuits are busy. Please try again later.”

So is my stop-the-thoughts method tedious? Yes, you could say so. Effective? You bet. And, it can have an element of fun too, if you move your lip and cheek muscles into a smile when you begin doing it, plus label it a mind ‘game’.

Why go to all that trouble?
Me? I do it for my mental health.
Actually getting quiet, being still, benefits my mind, body and spirit.
ALL of me wins!!

© 2009 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved