What do you spend most of your time thinking about?
"How you look? How you look to yourself? How you look to others?"
"My husband, kids, co-workers can't do a single thing unless I monitor them."
"Those darn bed bugs in every bed around the world?"
Now let's break down the 24 hours in a day. Some time is spent sleeping so we might have around 15 hours of waking time that we are engaged in conscious thinking. According to a study by the National Science Foundation our minds are spewing forth 15,000 - 50,000 thoughts per day. Most have nothing to do with the present moment, rather many revolve around the theme main theme of "past or future". A lot of all suffering is based in our own thoughts.
Settle down, I'm not here to tell you to stop thinking. Even meditators can't stop thinking. But they do observe the thought and try and remain unattached to it. Thoughts are a habit. As Pema Chodron writes in her book Taking the Leap "learning to come back (from being lost in thought), rather to return to being present, over and over again" is how to stop scratching that itch. "We humans are like young children who have a bad case of poison ivy. Because we want to relieve the discomfort, we automatically scratch, and it seems a perfectly sane thing to do. In the face of anything we don't like, we automatically try to escape. In other words, scratching is our habitual way of trying to get away, trying to escape our rundamental discomfort, the fundamental itch of restlessness and insecurity, or that very uneasy feeling: that feeling that something bad is about to happen."
Choose from a limited category of your most common thoughts... thoughts that give you a sense of unease and discomfort. May I suggest
- Yourself (body, success, image, death)
- Your family/co-workers
Spend a week simply being aware of your thoughts in one of these categories. Determine how uncomfortable you feel in your body....from slight to very uncomfortable while you think these thoughts. Then ask yourself....is this thought true in the moment?