Firstly, I would like to inform you that in today’s piece, you will find a few questions. Secondly, I would like to state that, for most of them, there isn’t a specific answer or, there is one possible answer in an immense ocean of other possible answers.
This subject is not an easy one (like anything related to human beings) and the tool I am using to analyse the subject, is part of the subject – the mind itself. Thirdly, in today’s piece, I am going to address the reader in the first person. I am going to interact with you as if we were having a one-to-one conversation. It’s going to be really personalised and exclusively dedicated to you - fully customized.
Now you may ask:
Why are there so many questions?
Why am I going to write in the first person?
What’s the reason behind announcing it?
Why is it relevant?
The answer to all these questions (and to any other questions you might have) is very simple: precisely to make you think about it. By doing so, you and I jump into the title’s subject at once.
Let’s be a little more specific and clarify my intentions.
Just by opening this website, going into blogs, and looking into what’s new and available to read, you exercise the power of your mind. You act in accordance with your thoughts, producing a combination of actions that led you to the page you are reading now. It was a mental exercise, followed by a variety of actions. This combination of actions was all orientated in a certain direction. The direction you were thinking of. This is something we do all day, every day, our whole life. We have a specific idea and we follow it. We produce all kinds of thoughts, followed by specific actions to achieve a certain result. By doing so, we obtain a final result – whether it is the one we expected or not, will be a discussion for another day.
How many different outcomes do we obtain every day? How many different outcomes do we want to obtain? Let’s have a quick overview of a standard day for many of us: you wake up in the morning and you get up. You go to the toilet, have breakfast, get changed, and go to work. There you complete hundreds of tasks. By the end of the day, you leave work, go do some shopping, come back home, go to the gym, cook dinner, watch television or read a book, catch up on social media, have a shower, go back to bed and the next day, it all starts again. All this is the result of thought after thought after thought, originated in your mind consciously or unconsciously.
Averagely speaking, we generate between 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts every day. And, 90% of them are the same thoughts we had the day before (1). Are we aware of all of them? Are we in control of the direction they take along the days, months, years, and throughout our entire lifetime? We have a very powerful mind. It is one of the most powerful tools we possess, if not the most powerful one. Everything we have ever created was initially a thought, before becoming a creation. At the same time, this tool is one of the most unknown assets we live with. We don’t know what it is, where it is, how it operates, who operates it, and why it operates the way it does.
Now imagine that you are not directing your thoughts in any specific direction. Imagine you are not pursuing any outcome in particular. Just for a moment, stop your mind drifting and think about not thinking. Imagine you want to quiet your mind. Either because you want to meditate or concentrate on a specific subject. Maybe you want to go to sleep and you can’t stop thinking about a myriad of things that keep you awake. Perhaps you are becoming overwhelmed with a particular subject and want to take a break or find some clarity. It could just be that you want to find the purpose of so many thoughts flowing from your mind.
Now that you know how many there are in just one day and if a majority of them are repeated day after day, maybe you want to take control over them and direct them towards being at your service. Whatever the reason might be, what do you think about when you don’t want to think? Does your mind stop? Does the powerful tool switch off and produce no thoughts at all? Or do you think about not thinking? But that’s thinking, isn’t it?
Let’s go more into depth and have a more physiological approach. Do you stop salivating if you are not eating? When you are not digesting food, does your stomach, liver, and intestines stop? When you are not sensing anything, in particular, does your nervous system stop? Do your kidneys stop if you are not drinking? I believe the answers are obvious.
Srikumar Rao calls this activity “mental chatter”. According to a speech delivered at Mindvalley Extraordinary Summit, published on YouTube in 2017, “mental chatter is like an unwelcome relative who shows up in your house and you can’t throw him out” (3). So the question remains: Does our mind stop producing thoughts when we are not thinking about anything in particular? It certainly does not, ever (2).
Let’s go back to the beginning, where I began to ask you why I was informing you that this week I am talking in the first person. Is it because you were wondering about the title of this piece? Or is it because you weren’t? Maybe it’s because you thought about it and you started building an idea around the concept? Or maybe it was because it didn’t resonate with any of your thoughts. Or maybe it’s because…
It doesn’t really matter why. As I already said, it is just to jump into the title’s subject itself – mental dialogue - your mental dialogue. I wanted to induce a certain direction in your thoughts. This direction was a thought itself, in its more pure and genuine essence. The goal is to make you think about your thoughts. But why? Why make you think about your thoughts? Well, if they precede any action if they are always present and are generated in your mind if they direct all your activities, would it be fair to say that your thoughts shape your life? Would it be accurate to say that your thoughts are responsible for all the actions you took along that same life? Actions that brought you to the reality you are in today - your reality.
To shake things up a little bit more, now I would like to introduce you to a concept. I was confronted with this same concept many years ago and it has been side by side with me ever since, through this journey of self-discovery and growth – the concept of self-doubt. At some point in our journey along life, we all must have had these moments when we stop for a moment and a few questions start to emerge:
Why am I here?
Why am I in this particular situation?
Why can’t I change my life’s direction?
How can I change my life’s direction?
At a certain point in your life, did you get to the same conclusion about your mind? The conclusion that it is not serving you in the way it should? Is this the reason why you sometimes want to stop it? And if it doesn’t stop, does it mean you are conditioned to the will of your mind? These thoughts are powerful enough to shake the majority of us – and they sure do. We can adapt our lifestyle and personality to a certain extent, so we enjoy the journey. However, if these questions arise at a certain point in life (and persist in coming back now and then), it must mean something is not working out the way it should. Ignoring these questions, at the beginning seems to be the best option but sure isn’t the solution, as they insist on recurring.
What’s the best way to direct thoughts and actions towards our desires?
Do we need to change who we are?
In 2011, during an interview in Mysore (Karnataka, India), Sadhguru (Yogi, mystic, and visionary) was asked about how to stop the mental activity (4). He answered, in my opinion, in a remarkable way. First, he reminds us that “it took millions of years of evolution to get a mind of this kind of capability … today you have a mind of this kind of scope and now you want to stop it.” Then, in my opinion, he asks the audience a fundamental question. A question that we all should ask ourselves and reflect on it every day. 10 minutes is enough, as long as we don’t forget the answer we found at the end.
By answering this question, we can turn the direction of our thoughts and lives. Sometimes, the turn can be as much as 180 degrees – I know - it is amazing what we can do with our lives, only with thought alone. Now then, what is that fundamental question? It goes like this: “Why is it that you want to stop it? If your mind was constantly producing absolute pleasantness for you, would you think about how to stop this mind?” Excellent question – if your mind is serving you, why stop it? Do you stop taking medication that is effectively treating the condition you take it for? Do you stop drinking water, knowing it will quench your thirst? Or do you stop eating food knowing it will end your hunger? Do you stop doing whatever is serving you? So why do you want to stop your mind?
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” (5).
Citing Srikumar Rao again, in the same summit mentioned, “ignoring mental chatter is a big mistake… we create our reality with our mental chatter” (3).
Would this sentence be the light at the end of a long tunnel?
Do we really need to change who we are?
At this stage and in accordance with what was said above I think you and I will agree if I say: if your mind never stops and if the excellence of the mind is a thought, then thoughts never stop being generated; if your thoughts direct your actions and these same actions have a specific result and effect in your life, then thoughts direct your life; if you agree with the previous two conclusions, then the answer to the questions further up in this piece could be:
Who you are is the result of all your thoughts (6) to date.
Where you are is due to what you have been thinking.
If you are really committed to changing anything in your life, as insignificant as it may seem, start by changing your thoughts.
An exercise to take home:
Take a piece of paper and a pencil
Write down one aspect of your life you would like to change (something small to start)
Assume full responsibility towards that aspect (blaming others won’t serve you at all)
Establish a rational time frame to accomplish this change (be generous with yourself, practice will allow you to master this)
Go back to your thoughts and analyse all the possible actions that brought you to where you are, in regards to that aspect; write them all down
Write down all the steps you can think of that you will need to take to accomplish the desired change (along the way, new steps might come to your mind – add them to your list in the order that you need to accomplish them)
That same day, start with step number one and don’t stop until you accomplish your personal goal (if the time frame needs to be extended, do extend it – flexibility is part of the growth process)
Your process has then started (7).
As a final note, I wanted to leave you with a quote from one of the greatest thinkers of all time. I want to share it with you because of the resistance you might be feeling at the present moment, to embark on a process like this. You might think it is too much work, you have no time to embrace such a task, it will take too much of your time and that is too long to wait, and so on. Allow me to ask you: quantify how long it will take? Let’s say one month. Allow me to ask you something else: in one month’s time, where would you be if you would have started one month ago? Exactly. No matter what, time will pass and you will have the results that you have invested in.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts” - Marcus Aurelius
(1) Dr. Joe Dispenza, “You are the Placebo Making your mind matter” Hay House, 2014, page. 51
(2) Personal note: There are many different powerful meditation techniques all around the globe. Some of their masters announce that at some point in their meditation sessions they can achieve a state of being that allows them to not think about anything. They just observe the present moment. Without scrutinising any of those statements, I would like to share with you a personal insight. As a meditation facilitator and practitioner and as a health professional, my question is this: what do they all use to achieve these states of being? Would you agree with me that it could be their minds? And if you agree with me, my next question is: did the mind stop then?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, some questions have no known answers.
(3) Srikumar Rao, Online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBlWbV64N4I, accessed on 22 February 2021
(4) Sadhguru, (2011), Online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNyJgNjCDuU&t=37s, accessed on 11 February 2021
(5) WordSense Dictionary. Online at https://www.wordsense.eu/don't_change_a_winning_team/ , accessed on 21 February 2021
(6) Personal note: If you want to do a quick exercise and have an approximate idea of how many thoughts have made you who you are, multiply your age by 365 (days) and then multiply by 65,000 (average number of thoughts for an average person) – that is you today.
(7) Personal note: if you read this far in this piece, I have a special gift for you, that is only available for Adviice members – drop me an email and you can book two 1 hour sessions with me, completely free of charge. By the end of those two sessions, if you leave your feedback with the Adviice team, you will be able to book another two 1 hour sessions, completely free of charge. This is one of my ways of helping you, during the COVID-19 period.