August 16, 2020

You are not your thoughts. I was wrong about inner peace.

The mainstream idea that a dancing mind is the reason behind absence of inner peace is what I believed. But I've reached the pivotal moment which made me realise that the idea is flawed and what we are trying to achieve inner peace is counter-productive.

You are not your thoughts. I was wrong about inner peace.

When you're in teenage you're bombarded with high tides of emotions and decisions and I was no exception. Emotions like guilt of doing bad, joy of first relationship, utter sadness post first break up, or decisions like what do I really want to become as a professional, what career or college to prepare for. Experiencing perceivably hefty emotions and decisions, no doubt makes you think and over think and over-over-think. And as you grow that mental turmoil gets worse because we generally get education for how to simplify an algebric expression but never for how to simplify the mental turmoil.

Soon, if you're self-aware enough like me, you might want to start searching for inner peace. Questions like "How to get rid of this messy brain and achieve ultimate peace?" will keep bugging you and you'll think more about what all you can do to achieve inner peace.

What did I try to do achieve inner peace?

Well, I started taking 6 deep breaths whenever I got anxious and it used to work but it was just a band-aid for the problem. Soon enough, I started working out which definitely strengthened my mind and every day in the morning gave me a boost and clarity to get through the day. But what if I missed working out that day? Well, overthinking prevailed.

During COVID-19 lockdown, because gyms were closed and home workouts just weren't cutting it, I tried to invest more of my workout time into meditation. I explored different techniques like noting, visualisation and more which if you want me talk more about in a separate blog post, let me know in the reddit post linked down below. Anyway, practicing meditation for more than five months provided me with this amazing infrastructure which suppressed anxiety and stress but more importantly it lead me to a pivotal realisation which is that I'm not my thoughts, and I need to look and observe my mind objectively.

your thoughts are like a dog running around in lawn

You are not your thoughts

Treat your thoughts like your dog running around in your lawn. Look at it objectively and you won't feel anything. Now, imagine your dog is attached to the leash which you're holding and now it starts running around dragging you along. Well, now it doesn't feel very pleasant, does it? That's what you're doing when you let your thoughts make you indulge in them. You have a thought, let it go or soon enough your thoughts will consume all your energy and you'll keep feeling like you are living with mental turmoil. Break the connection between your thoughts and your identity. Why? Your thoughts are only about two things: past or future. The past that you're thinking about is just a skeleton of time with no flesh and the future that you are thinking about is never going to arrive but you'll keep suffering over the suffering which you think might be inflicted upon you sometime in the future. "Going to be past" or "Supposed to be future" is infront of you. It's present. Experience it.

There never is, or was, or will be anything except the present. - Alan Watts

The natural state of mind is to dance. Why? Well, one of the factors is dopamine. Dopamine tries to eliminate any kind of prediction error. Drugs work because they make your mind to produce dopamine beyond the level than what was predicted and you feel depressed when the dopamine levels are below the level than what was predicted. Let it dance. Trying to find inner peace by trying to eliminate thoughts or suppressing them is futile. Just observe your thoughts.

Meditation is not just about sitting idle and doing mindfulness techniques but it is more about disconnecting your identity from your thoughts. Your thoughts are and will keep flowing like clouds. No cloud is a bad or good cloud and they don't have to be. Your thoughts are just thoughts. Don't try to engage in them, don’t try to control them, and most importantly, don’t try to judge those thoughts. That level of meditative state is gonna take you sometime to reach but you’ll eventually if you keep practising mindfulness. I'll talk more about how I meditated and what exactly you've to do to reach your pivotal moment in another post when I'll talk more about inner peace.

That's it for this blogpost and if you feel that you've something to add to this or you've a different perspective then share it and discuss it on r/StoicHuman or go to the reddit discussion post for this blog post linked down below.

Stay healthy, Stay safe.

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You are not your thoughts. I was wrong about inner peace. from r/StoicHuman