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The Art of Observing the Mind

What is holding people back from living the life they truly desire...

  • I would say one common and destructive thing is that they can't control their worrying and anxiety.

  • They overthink worrying thoughts until they become bigger and scarier than they actually are.

  • They overanalyze and deconstruct things to the point that their anxiety overwhelms them.

Now don't get me wrong.

Anxiety can be a great thing of course. It can give you energy, keep you on your toes and prepare you to tackle future problems. But getting lost in anxiety and worry can result in becoming someone who stands still in life.

  • One of the ways to deal with anxiety in a more healthy way is the art of observing the mind.

  • Becoming the observer simply means taking a step back from your mind and becoming aware of your thinking patterns and how you're responding to things.

It may sound a little strange, particularly if you believe that you are your mind, so how is it possible to observe it...

  • But first, you need to make a distinction between the mind and you.

  • The mind is part of you, but not all of you.

  • In short, becoming the observer simply means taking a step back from your mind and becoming aware of your thinking patterns and how you're responding to things.

How do you learn to become an observer of your mind...

  • Observe the current of thoughts that flow through your consciousness.

  • Don't do anything, don't interfere, don't stop them in anyway. Don't repress in any way. You are simply to be an observer.

  • You can be in the midst of all kinds of worries but the worries will not be yours. You can be surrounded by thoughts but you will not be the thoughts.

  • And if you become aware that you are not your thoughts, the life of these thoughts will begin to grow weaker, they will begin to become more and more lifeless.

The power of your thoughts lies in the fact that you think they are yours. No thought is yours. All thoughts are separate from you. You just be a witness to them.

  • A lot of our stress comes about because we don't recognize the difference between the Thinking Mind and Observing Mind.

  • We can't help but get stuck into the negative emotions, rather than taking a step back and observing them.

People often wonder how they can stop themselves from experiencing negative emotion like anxiety, nervousness or anger, but the truth is, you don't.

  • Because you can't control your Thinking Mind. Your mind will continue to produce thoughts. Your emotions will continue to pop up.

  • But the trick is not to identify with those emotions when they occur. You can't control your emotions, but you can control your behaviour.

  • A better approach is to accept your negative emotions, avoid attaching to them, and then move on.

This isn't easy to do, and it takes practice.

Techniques to help you use your Observing Mind...

  • Whenever a strong emotion or thought pops up, don't identify with it but acknowledge it. For example...

  • 'I am not anxious. I am feeling anxious because I have a date tonight.'

  • 'I am not depressed. I am feeling depressed.'

  • Language is a powerful way to frame the mind.

Learning the art of the Observing Mind is something that takes practice, but when you become better at it you'll be less of a slave to your thoughts and emotions.

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