Ruminating thoughts are common issues brought into therapy.
Life is filled with external demands and challenges that create stressors. The act of ruminating is going over a thought or problem without completion. I often hear: I am so stressed…how do I stop thinking?
More often, our thoughts about a thing are usually much worse than the thing itself. Is it really about stopping thinking or establishing a different relationship with our thoughts?
How can we get rest from our thoughts?
Meditation and Mindfulness are current buzzwords for obtaining a clear and alert mind. Modern psychological research defines meditation in a variety of ways- many of which emphasize the role of thinking and attention. In his new book, Strength in Stillness, my friend, teacher, and author Bob Roth offers us a simple, straightforward and practical guide to Transcendental Meditation. It is in this mantra based 20 minute twice daily practice that Bob describes how the body gains from the rest and relaxation of the mind. It (TM) produces deep rest and inner alertness, together—or as I said, a unique state of restful alertness.
How is TM is different than most meditation practices?
Thoughts are part of the process. They come and they go without our resistance, holding or clinging. Bob likens our surface level active thinking mind to the waves on the surface of the ocean. What he fondly calls the gotta, gotta, gotta mind. Got to do this. Got to do that. Like the waves of the ocean that create constant activity there is a deeper calmer level when we go below the surface. If we use the ocean analogy, controlling turbulent waves on the surface would be exhausting and useless—much like trying to actively stop ruminating thoughts. The purpose of TM is to allow the thinking mind to settle into its inner stillness without effort. To experience transcendence beyond thoughts and find strength in stillness.