I did a little better today with not focusing on my to do list, but I realized just how exceptionally hard it is for me to simply stop thinking. I tried two strategies to help get me on the right track:
1. First I tried a sort of mantra, focusing just on thinking about breathing IN and breathing OUT, repeating the words in and out in my mind to try to help block out other thoughts. At first, I thought I was having some success with this method, but I quickly realized that underneath the level of focusing on these words, I was continuing to have my normal internal dialogue! This amazed me a bit, because it felt a little like holding two simultaneous conversations.
2. Next I reverted to a strategy that I developed during my childhood. I used to have a great deal of trouble falling asleep because I couldn’t stop thinking, so I began to visualize myself blowing the thoughts out of my body each time I physically exhaled. This was mean to symbolically purge the thoughts from my mind and release them to the world. It helped me finally fall asleep as a kid. As a meditator, it did help – at least some. It worked pretty well at helping me stop thinking about any particular thing, but the problem was that there was always a new thought to rush in. Nevertheless, I did experience many more moments of not thinking today.
And I consider that to be great progress! How’d it go for you?
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