The Wandering Mind
Why do you want your mind to stop random thinking when you never ask for any other organ to stop its normal functioning?
I went to another city last week for just two days. From the time that I left my home to the time I came back to it, now sitting in front of a screen getting back to my sedentary life, I realised that my mind was constantly wandering.
Our mind loves to wander, and mine is no different. When I am in the car for a long journey, it is swaying between my deadlines, work, pleasures, innumerable ideas, the judgments of this world and so on.. I used to get annoyed by this functioning of the brain until I asked my psychologist friend about it, and asked how could I stop this constant random thinking inside my brain and become more focused? He gave the most unexpected answer in the world, by saying “Don’t stop it, ever. Let your mind do its job and you do yours.”
I was startled by his answer but this was coming from a successful person who had spent years into the field of brain and its functioning. It was only years later that I understood what and why he said what he said. I think what he meant was that we do not need to be so harsh on ourselves and not force something as involuntary as our thoughts to work in the way we apparently feel is the right way. There is no right way, for that matter. I was listening to a podcast the other day by Sadhguru in which he said that people come to him and say that Sadhguru I wish to stop my brain from blabbering when I am meditating and become more focused. He said in his calm demeanour, “Why do you wish to stop your brain from functioning when you do not ask your liver, heart, kidneys and other organs to stop functioning while meditating? When you do not want your other organs to stop functioning in order to live, why then do you want your brain to stop? You do your job and let it do its job.”
That hit me and took me back to what my friend said. I think what these experts in human behaviour mean is that it is important to listen to what your mind has to say. You cannot keep going on with your life if you are ignoring what your mind has to say to you. Whatever it is saying holds different levels of importance for you. Your thoughts have been formed by your mind by years and years of experience on this planet. Not listening to what it has to say would cause you great trouble. While I agree that some parts of our random thoughts are waste, yet some parts of them are useful for us. You cannot ignore something that is important for your being.
I am not implying that everything that your mind says is important and if there are certain thought patterns that you feel are not useful for you in the longer run, definitely you need to change them. Even to do so, you need to listen to what your mind says. A large number of people are into journaling their everyday lives. They write down the things that are in their minds and they say that it has helped them sustain their sanity. Jennifer Aniston says that she has a habit of journaling from a long time and it keeps her grounded and sane.
Make it a habit to listen to the things your brain has to say, discard the ones that you do not like, make a list of repeated thought patterns inside it and if there are patterns that do not make you a better human being, well, change them but do not ignore them, ever. You cannot simultaneously avoid and prepare for something. A lot of thoughts would help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, a lot of them would help you understand yourself better. Remember your brain is your constant companion, be its friend.
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