How to Quiet A Compulsive Mind
Because your mind does not voluntarily stay in the present moment, constantly shuffling back and forth between the past and the future, the only way to stop the thinking mind is to direct it to the present moment. When your mind stays in the present moment, it stops its thinking process of the past or the future—at least for the time being. To make your mind remain in the present moment—even though for just a short moment—you need acute awareness and deep concentration. To do that, you need constant and regular practice to focus or re-focus your mind on the present moment.
Once you can stop, at will, your mind from thinking, you have control over your thinking process, you are no longer a slave to your thoughts, and your mind becomes once again your friend, instead of your enemy. Learn to switch your mind on and off, just as you do with your computer.
Remember, we are all addicted to thinking, whether we want it or not; we must stop our thinking sometime and somehow.
Mind Training to Focus on the Present Moment
In your everyday life, you can practice mind training to focus on the present moment. Essentially, you are giving your full attention to what you are doing at that very present moment.
Focusing on the present moment makes you forget the past and the future.
Case in Point
Some people like to engage in dangerous sports, such as car racing or skydiving, because they would like to obliterate thoughts of the past and the future by focusing only on the thrills of the present moment.
If your mind is fully engaged in doing something, you will not be thinking of the past or the future, just like the car racers or skydivers. It is only when you are half-engaged mentally, then your mind begins to wander, letting your subconscious mind take over.
There is a difference between the knowledge mind and the thinking mind. The former provides facts or information about something or someone; the latter provides labels, judgments and opinions. Practice mind training to focus on the present moment so as to withdraw the thinking mind from the past and the future whenever it is not needed.
For example, you can focus your mind on your breathing. Notice how you breathe in and breathe out, how your body feels during inhalation and exhalation, and how the flow and rhythm of your breaths are affecting your mind. Put some stick-on notes on your computer monitor or anywhere in your house to remind you to practice conscious breathing every now and then throughout the day. Practicing conscious breathing for 2-3 minutes every hour or so does not interrupt with your daily work; just form this good habit of mindfulness and internal focus.
For example, you can focus your mind on your walking. Pay close attention to every step, every movement of your hands and feet, your breathing, and your body sensations while you are walking. Many people do their walking while listening to their music, or worse, talking on the cell phone; they are not letting their minds focus on the present moment.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau