Shut Up, Brain!

I was wandering through the mall the other day, lost in thought.  As my mind chattered away, bouncing from one thought to the next, I suddenly began to focus in on the masses of people surrounding me, and realized that every single person's mind was racing away just as mine was.  And then a bizarre image came to mind: a series of spinning tops, moving so quickly that they could barely be seen, all circulating in patterns that were completely separate from everyone else's.  We can't step outside of our own revolutions, nor can we truly understand the patterns of all those minds gyrating alongside us, because we are lost within our own revolutions. I often wonder, as I am hypnotizing clients, whether our brain waves begin to sync as the session progresses.  I KNOW, without a doubt, that some connection forms between us.  So often, patients will pick up on my thoughts, and vice-versa.  I try not to drink coffee when I know that I will be hypnotizing clients early in the day; my caffeine-provoked anxiety seems to make it more difficult to bring clients down into hypnosis quickly.  The more relaxed I am, the faster my clients go under; strange, but true.  Fortunately, I am relaxed and mellow most of the time, so it isn't usually an issue.  The more I relax, the more I allow myself to let go of all those chaotic thoughts and images that crowd my busy brain, the easier it is for me to attract my goals.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, not exactly.

The power of focus and is undeniable.  Yet we spend so much of our day spinning mindlessly, with no specific direction in mind.  Imagine if we could harness all that wasted energy, and hone it into an arrow pointed towards our goals and desires.  First, we need to clear a path...and what I have found is that most cannot do this with any degree of ease or comfort.  However, I teach a method in my practice for helping to shut up all that chatter that busy minds can't seem to turn off.

Here is the is the issue: all that chatter stems from the conscious mind, and the conscious mind doesn't like to quiet down.  It needs to be worn down and tired out for this to happen.  So when you are trying to meditate or blank your mind, there is resistance.  Fighting this resistance only creates more resistance, so you need to find a way to work WITH the conscious mind, rather than against it, in order to create clarity and stop those pesky racing thoughts.

I really like the following image, and I use it often in my practice:  damp sand at the edge of the ocean.  Imagine yourself using your index finger to draw a circle in the sand.  Now, inside that circle, you draw the word that represents a thought you want to release.  Wait a moment, then use your other hand to wipe away that word, and feel yourself relaxing twice as much as you do so.  Now the circle is blank.  So draw the word that represents another nagging thought, wait, and erase, relaxing twice as deeply.  If you are very visual, you may even choose to draw an image representing the thought; that's up to you.  Others may choose to use numbers, or letters.  The important part of this exercise is that you are engaging the conscious mind, not resisting it.  This engagement tires out the conscious, wearing it down to the point that it becomes too exhausted to keep its grip on those pervasive thoughts.

This exercise also works very well for helping you drift off to sleep.  I recommend using numbers in this case, and counting forward, not back. (For some insomniacs, counting back from 100 to 1 can provoke anxiety, because it creates a fear of failure in getting to sleep before hitting 1).