This post is not necessarily meant for people who just think a lot. Here I am specifically talking about the monkey mind: The uncontrollable mind that seems to drag you from one horror-scenario to another and puts the worst scenario on repeat.
Trying to stop this internal chatter is in vain as long as you don’t understand the root of this mind-circus. The monkey mind is in fact just a very useful trick of the ego. The ego uses these mental stories to keep you engaged, to make sure you’ll fight for your own “survival”. In order to not lose your attention, it will put the stories on repeat. Sooner or later, you will go insane of the constant mind-chatter which will move you to undertake measures which are based on your ego’s will. Once the storytelling has cooled down a bit, you may start to hear the calm whispers of your inner being which comes with a far better solution. But now it’s too late.
So, how can we stop ourselves from listening to this incessant voice in our heads?
Meditation is by now a well-known measure to disengage from the monkey mind. By not paying attention to our thoughts, but rather to our breath, outer surroundings or feelings, we can distance ourselves from the crazy stories. Even though meditation is a very powerful method, it’s not the only one.
Mindfulness, in fact, is the basis of meditation. But unfortunately, people still connect meditation too much to the formal act of sitting down on a meditation cushion. But mindfulness can be done anywhere, no matter whether you are in the car, at work or doing groceries.
And it can be done in many different ways. You could be mindful by not paying attention to the thoughts, but rather to other things in the present such as your breath or your feelings. But you might as well turn it around and actually pay attention to your thoughts. After all, your thoughts are part of the here and now as well.
The trick is to observe your thoughts without engaging in them. Listen to the story your ego is telling you. Watch it as if you were watching a movie. You can watch the story pass by, but don’t identify with it.
Watching this story as an “outsider”, will soon make you realize how unrealistic the story is and how little it has to do with the real world or the real you, for that matters. The truth is never as dark as the ego tries to present it to you. If it were, you probably wouldn’t even have the time for all this internal chatter.
Mindfulness will help you to distance yourself from the stories by realizing the truth: essentially you’re safe. You will realize this is all a trick of the ego and you’ll stop wasting time on the energy draining stories. And guess what? Your ego will soon get bored if you don’t actively engage in its stories anymore. Without you as co-narrator, it will soon feel unsupported and will quit the story telling. After all, playing alone is a lot less fun.
As I mentioned earlier, the never-ending flow of thoughts is a trick your ego uses in order to drive you to take action. It wants to give you the feeling you can take control over the situation by over-analysing or conjuring up a plan for every possible situation in the future. The ego doesn’t realize how much waste of time and energy this is, as the best solutions come up intuitively while we are centered and in a state of relaxation.
Therefore, we can best first surrender. Give up the fight and go with the flow. Allow yourself the humbleness of accepting that you don’t have all the answers to life’s challenges. The less we fight against it, the more life surprises us with unexpected situations and turns.
Your ego will find it extremely difficult to just surrender and trust in life, but this is your chance to proof your ego wrong. Stop fueling your story with negativity, as the law of attraction will bring you what you’ve energetically been asking for. If you “give” horror-stories, you’ll most likely get horror-stories.
But if you manage to let go of this story and watch the story unfold in the here and now, you will witness the benevolence and beauty of life and will find yourself in a situation you had never imagined. Your ego will notice that surrender can actually be a plausible “action” and will be calmed down more easily next time you find yourself in a distressing situation.
Note that surrender has nothing to do with inactivity. The key is to accept whatever you can’t change. If you see a way to take action which feels right, please do so! Just don’t waste your time thinking of ifs and whens, scenarios in the past and the future you don’t have control over.
Forgiveness allows you to kill two birds with one stone. Not only can you end the story, but you are very likely to rewrite the story into a more positive one. When hate turns into love and compassion, miracles happen.
Obviously, you need to forgive the other person that’s involved in the story. If you can’t see how you can forgive this person, I recommend reading my post on forgiveness. By forgiving the other you prevent the ego from creating more attack stories.
Furthermore, you need to forgive yourself. This step is so crucial, since so many of the ego’s stories are directed towards ourselves. “I should have acted differently”; “How could someone possibly love someone like me?”; “I’m such a loser!”… By forgiving ourselves, these kind of slogans will slowly fade away.
And lastly, you need to forgive your ego. Eventually, the ego only wants you to survive and thrive. It has strange mechanisms, but it has the best intentions. Thank your ego for wanting the best for you, but let it know that you have found out healthier ways of surviving and thriving. It will need some time and proof in order to be convinced and feel safe. But once it feels safe, it won’t feel the need to release the monkey in your mind in order to ensure your survival. It will slowly hand over the control to you and your inner being, allowing you to finally enjoy some peace of mind.