BY: T. Franklin Murphy | November 2016 (edited April 1, 2022)
Overactive minds plan, prepare and calculate. Overactive minds also struggle to shut down, interfering with rest, joy and peace.
The human ability to plan has blossomed into technological wonders of the modern world. This fantastic ability extends possibilities, providing not only grand discoveries but an escape from simple reactionary behaviors. The ability to plan has shaped the world and our lives. With planning, we become active players in creating futures. But a thinking mind isn’t all wonder and no ache. Consciousness contributes to complexity but disrupts harmony. Our overactive minds constantly ruminate on errors in the past and worries over tomorrow.
The Burden and Blessing of Thinking
Thinking has flaws. We entertain justifications, invent blame and over-think ourselves into depression. We ponder victimhood; and ignore responsibilities with complex theories to excuse personal culpability. Thinking is a burden and a blessing. We are not constrained to live chained to unwholesome and meddling thoughts, with work, our thoughts can constructively serve our interests.
Solitude Can Calm Our Overactive Mind
Thinking is an activity of the brain, mulling over the past and considering possibilities for the future. Thinking gives additional meaning to experience that we can access to productively guide choice, but too much thinking disrupts inner calmness. When we should be sleeping, overactive minds keeps us awake. We need space from chaotic thoughts that haunt and intrude. We need the calmness of solitude.
"While an overactive mind can be useful for coming up with new ideas or breezing through projects, it can also make it difficult to choose which task to work on at any one time."
Ten Penny Dreams | The Curse of the Overactive Mind
Quieting An Overactive Mind Requires Practice
Thoughts aren’t simply turned off on command. Escaping disrupting thoughts requires skill and practice. We invite solitude through practices like meditation, prayer, Tai-Chi and Yoga. Many people enjoy solitude with controlled reflection, religious practices, music or nature. The possibilities are many.
Most rejuvenating practices must be invited through intentional scheduling. Long absences of solitude, indulging in the overactive mind, make excursions into peace disquieting. Feelings previously ignored with distractions of business often surface during quietness. When Habitual thoughts disappear, raw feelings are exposed.
See Inner Peace for more on this topic
The overactive mind is constantly busy, always ruminating on problems, planning, and pasts. Guilt and worry constantly disrupt peace.
We are Accustomed to the Noise
Moments of solitude and the rich rewards of quietness are often feared. Mindless clicking of facebook, blankly watching repeats of an evening sitcom and a barrage of superficial text messages distracts. We effectively escape the frightening feelings present during quietness. Our demons must be faced, we shouldn't dampen the wondrous feelings of living behind the noise of an overactive mind.
We can challenge the fears and be freed. Like many things in life, if we desire a quiet mind, we must structure breaks from the overactive business. Only then will we discover that in the dark corners of our minds, away from thinking, away from distraction, lie the secrets that bring the richness and flourishing we seek.
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