Dealing with mental chatter is a priority if you want to take back command of your mind.
How to interrupt thought loops and take control over your own mind.
So, you’re sitting in traffic on your way to work. And suddenly you realize that for the past 20 minutes you’ve been thinking about how much you dislike your sister, and all the ways she makes it clear that you are not a priority to her…unless she needs something, of course, and in that case, oh look! at what a charming sweetie she can be, and you know, you were both raised by the same parents, but somehow you were always expected to be the achiever and the responsible one, and somehow she ended up being such a manipulative flake, even though no one really seems to see that about her, and she can do really annoying stuff, like announce that she is hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and then she doesn’t even defrost the turkey the night before and then Mom and I have to scramble in the kitchen trying to work that out while she just makes her helpless-cute face and stays mostly in the living room having cocktails and catching up with the cousins while we’re stressed out in the kitchen fixing her mistake, again, like so many times before, but somehow Mom isn’t even mad at her at all and honestly…where does she get off? I mean, why doesn’t anyone seem to call her out on it?
Okay, so you’ve all done this right? Thought Loop Extravaganza.
You have a mental landscape. And sometimes it’s easiest to think of it as your own personal palace, with many levels and many rooms that serve many different functions. The only light in this palace is you — your awareness, your consciousness.
You move through the palace all day long, and a great deal of that is completely unintentional. In this scenario, you’ve entered a room created for your relationship with your sister. That’s the theme of this room. The room is pitch black, until you enter it. The light of your consciousness begins to light up this room, and everything in it. Whatever you look at becomes more alive, more vivid. You see objects and you pick them up, handle them, beam more light onto them and make them much more real, more detailed, more emotionally charged. You alone have the power to do this, without the light of your awareness, your attention, your focus, your consciousness…the contents of the room have no life, no meaning and no reality.
But you don’t enter rooms intentionally, and you don’t even realize you have entered a room until you have been trapped in a Thought Loop for quite some time…if you realize it at all. And to make it worse, this is such a common state of mind for you that you think this is normal, that this is just what minds do.
So yes, this is what they do when you have zero mastery, zero authority and zero command over your own basic human kit. This is default, off the rack human functioning. How’s that going for you?
Mastery starts with knowing that your mental landscape is just that — it has locations and you can learn to navigate those rooms, levels and the content in them. You can learn to move yourself from dungeon to the roof star-gazing garden.
Mastery starts with accepting the responsibility for the infinite awesome power of your consciousness, focus, attention and awareness. Even if you realize you have wandered into the Bitterness Toward My Sister room, it’s only the life giving light of your awareness that gives the Thought Loop momentum and power.
You can run on default or you can actually learn how your mind works and how to work your mind. Easier said than done? Well, yes, in some respects. But I started doing this as a child, so how hard can it really be? You need a map, you need some tools and it’s great if you can also get some encouragement! I would have appreciated all three of these things at many points along the way, but even without them, here I am. Not a superhero, but super committed to not running on default. That was life or death to me, that’s how seriously I took it, starting in my teen years. It’s not a hobby or an on again off again self improvement treadmill.
The results are stunning. First of all, you don’t spend your days being rolled through one Thought Loop after another, which is what the average person’s daily mind activity consists of.
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