Off the merry-go-round

Thoughts about Thinking. Thinking about Thoughts. What do you think? :-). A recent Seasonal Note focussed on the importance of our words and thoughts: how they affect us personally — physically, mentally, emotionally — and how they send out a wave of vibratory energy into the world, into the universe.  So let us be aware, think and say good thoughts and words!  

Well, here’s another take.  Mark Nepo writes an essay in his Book of Awakening  called Off the Merry-Go-Round.  He writes, “No amount of thinking can stop thinking….   Overthinking is an annoying reflex of being human.”  I dare say we all, either occasionally or often, tend to overanalyze, replay, ruminate about problems, decisions, worries…  And how many of us know the chaos and distress that our thinking, that merry-go-round, can cause at times…particularly in the middle of the night?  (See my earlier post,  Midnight Mind — Monkey Mind for personal info and skilful means that have been helpful for me.)  We all do this, no one is exempt. Nepo writes further, “I feel like a cow shooing a fly that will never go away.”  Sound familiar?  

the mental 

One of the realizations/goals of many spiritual traditions is a calm mind, ease and space from the chatter, the ruminating, the merry-go-round.  Thoughts about thinking. Thinking about Thoughts. So what to do, given that we can’t control ourselves totally, or everything, or our thoughts?  Einstein‘s insight that we cannot solve a problem within the framework of the problem itself is relevant here. When our thinking and overthinking become problems, we can’t solve it by thinking. Nepo again: as impossible as it sometimes seems, we need to and can (just!) step off the mental merry-go-round.  He talks about the terrain of faith: we drop into a place of not knowing, stopping mid-thought, believing there is a deeper space, of quiet, ease, relaxation…and indeed, there is.  I expect that many of us know this place as well, at least fleetingly.  

Off the merry-go-round

Shall we commit to this healing project together, to drop more frequently (in nature, in meditation, or simply breathing calmly), beneath the thinking mind to something more profound, more still, more quiet, more restful…inviting more peace and ease?  

What do you think? I’d really appreciate hearing your thoughts, and learning about your experience of getting off the mental merry-go-round.  We are in this together! 

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook 🙂

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