Solitude: Quieting the Overactive Mind Slowing the thoughts; Finding Peace BY: Troy Murphy |November 2016
Adobe Stock Images
The human ability to plan is expressed in the technological wonders of the modern world. This fantastic ability extends our possibilities, providing escape from simple reactionary behaviors. The ability to plan has shaped the world and can shape our lives. With planning, we become active players in creating futures. But thinking isn’t all wonder and no ache. Consciousness contributes to complexity but disrupts harmony of the moment.
Think has flaws. We entertain justifications, invent blame and think ourselves into depression. We ponder victimhood; ignore responsibilities by constructing complex theories excusing personal culpability. Thinking is a burden and a blessing but with work, thoughts can constructively serve our interests.
Thinking is an activity of the brain, mulling over the past and considering possibilities for the future. Thinking gives meaning to experience that later can be retrieved to productively guide a choice. But at times, we need space from the chaotic thoughts, continuously haunting and intruding or rest. We need the calmness of solitude. Thoughts aren’t simply turned off when we need a mental break, escaping disrupting thoughts requires skill and practice. We invite solitude through practices such as meditation, Tai-Chi or Yoga. Some find solitude through controlled reflection, religious practices, music or communing with nature. All these practices must be invited. Long absences of solitude, indulging in an overactive mind, make new excursions of peace disquieting, even discomforting. Feelings previously ignored surface during quietness. When Habitual thoughts disappear, raw feelings are exposed.
Moments of solitude, with the rich rewards, are often feared. Mindless clicking of facebook, blankly watching television or a barrage of text messages effectively disrupts quietness, burying the awful feelings we wish to avoid. Any mental noise provides sufficient distraction. But demons need to be faced, challenged and freed. Like many things in life, if we want the benefits of solitude, we must actively structure quietness into our busy schedules. In the dark quiet corners of our minds, away from thinking, away from distraction, we find the secrets of life, the secrets that bring the richness we seek.