How to Tame an Overactive Mind

Updated: Feb 1

There's a big difference between rejecting the mind and allowing yourself to indulge in self-defeating mental behaviour. There needs to be a balance.

You're not your mind

What if you have a chronically over-active mind? What if your mind is always running in the background? What if your mind's ticker-tape script is acidic or tyrannical?

When your mind has taken over, leading you to constnatly be judging or doubting yourself (and others), it's time for a different strategy.

You see, you aren't your mind. You are much more than your mind.

The mind is meant to be a tool to help us get what we want in life, but especially in Western culture, we may forget that we are the ones responsible for keeping our mind balanced.

We may be so used to using our minds for judging all the time that we neglect to use our Will to reign it in.

Some of us might be so over-identified with the mind that we've forgotten how to feel our emotions or even be comfortable in our bodies.

Warrior Spirit and the Mind

Your entire personality is made up of many different parts. But without a strong connection to our will, or desires, we are at the mercy at these different parts. The Will, based on a strong value system, can also be drawn upon by the Sovereign Self, to keep these other parts of us in check.

Warriors are traditionally known for being able to muster the courage, or will, needed to do hard things. If you can tap into your Warrior Spirit, that will help you bring the mind under control when it's keeping you from living a productive life.

If you're having trouble bringing your mind under the domain of your Will, first you'll have to commit to the decision of figuring this out. Then you're going to need to learn some new skills to help you achieve that.

Don't worry if you think you can't do it. If you can decide that you will figure it out, that's all you need to begin. The fastest way to kill anxiety is to make a decision about something. You can always course correct later.

The Mind as a Garden

I read a book many moons ago that left a remarkable impression on me. At the time I was struggling to get my mental scripts in order so they weren't consuming me with self-hate and shame. It was the image of the mind as a garden, as presented in The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, that gave me some perspective.

If you see your mind as a garden, you can choose to carefully tend it. You pull weeds (unhelpful thoughts) to keep them from overtaking the garden and choking off the flowers (your helpful thoughts and intentions).

In other words, you observe your thoughts for unhelpful scripts, and you work to pull them.

Learning to observe your thoughts is the greatest benefit of meditation, and why it's so often recommended for spiritual practice.

To have a healthy relationship with your mind, you should know what is in it, what you're feeding it with, and how that food is affecting your unconscious scripts.

If you can't stop thinking, it means that your mind is running unconscious scripts in the backround, much like an app on your phone that keeps working even when you're not actively using it.

Meditation helps you to notice when your mind is doing this and to retrain your mind from always focusing on the unconscious scripts.

It's not about shoving everything down inside. It's not about annihilating parts of you that are screaming for attention.

It's about learning the skill of actively disengaging from the ticker tape of unconscious scripts, at will, until you can learn to re-write these scripts, which is a more advanced skill.

Your Mind Isn't the Enemy

Great Warriors are also great strategists and have sharp wits and a focused awareness to help them 'defeat their enemies' in battle.

Do we want to be thinking of our mind as the enemy? No, that's not helpful. But if we are honest, we will know that we can have thoughts and thought patterns that are unhelpful.

Thoughts that don't help you raise your vibration or attract better things in your life.

Thoughts that keep you fighting against parts of yourself.

These thoughts need to be examined. It is the only way to help you re-train and re-program your unconscious scripts. This takes a little more effort, time and skill.

First you need to ask where these thoughts are coming from. This is a skill that can be self-taught. It takes a little patience, and a willingness to experience some extremely uncomfortable feelings.

If you are an Indigo, you'll have a Warrior Spirit. I urge you to tap into that for this work.

The Wounded Self

But the way forward isn't by bulldozing. If you can have compassion for yourself, you'll realize that your unconscious thoughts, the ones that are judging you and causing you to doubt yourself, come from a wounded place.

We call this the Shadow Self or the Wounded Self. It is a part of you that is screaming for attention, asking for healing and integration. That's why it talks so much!

You can't shut down the part of you that creates these thoughts. First, because the Shadow Self is instinctual and instincts cannot be shut off. Second, the Wounded Self shouldn't be further wounded by being ignored or made to shut up. The Wounded Self is a personality, and it will rebel, acting out in sabotaging ways when you do this.

The Wounded Self, by its nature, is hostile and self-defeating. You cannot change its instincual behaviour. Like a wild animal, the only way to 'tame it' is by teaching it that it can trust you.

So you work to find out what the wounds are that are causing these unhelpful mental scripts, then you work to integrate those wounds over time.

Depending on how victimizing the orginal trauamtic events are, this can take a bit of time and effort.

Aim for Balance and Wholeness

What we call "doing the work" is not just making your uncomfortable feelings go away- it's learning to bolster new personalities that can be drawn upon to balance the wounded ones.

You needn't be a slave to the thoughts and feelings of your wounded self, but you also don't want to shut down and become a robot, where you can't feel anything.

That's one of the problems with over-identifying with the mind and ignoring the feelings underneath. When you use your "mental muscles" too much, your "feeling muscles" will atrophy if you aren't using them.

You still don't want thoughts ruling your life, though, so you should get a handle on them. Remember that your mind is a tool for the Sovereign Self

You don't want to think you are the tool. That's like a carpenter thinking he's his hammer.

Aim for balance and wholeness. If you're only living up in the mind, that means you're over-identifying with it. What about the other tools that the Sovereign Self can use to go about its business of living life?

Choose to feel being in your body. Choose more exercise. Choose more creative expression, where you get in touch with feelings and express them from a different place, without everything being filtered through the mind.

Slow things down. Watch your thoughts. Make peace with some of them- don't just squash the ones that bring you down. Get to know and have compassion for the Wounded Self who thinks those thoughts.

Ultimately, you are the Sovereign Self, and the idea is to have more control of your mind so that it works for you. Not compulsively. Not tyrannically. In a balanced way that brings about more balance in your life. This is how you can tame an over-active mind.

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