At times we’ll fall into a pit that we can’t seem to get ourselves out of. I’ve been in situations where I stayed stuck with a thought for days and days and I would let it consume my mind, entertaining the thought endlessly. Now, it’s all right to stay with a certain thought so long as one is learning something out of it, that way all that time wouldn’t have been for vain. However, at some point one needs to move on as that lingering thought won’t prove beneficial to one. Eventually it’ll seep into one’s daily’s activities, removing focus because one is stuck inside their minds all throughout the day.
I know from first-hand experience that I would overthink things to the point that even though I would extract as much information I needed—or thought I needed—it would continue to emerge at random times throughout my day.
Because I had spent all that time, and all those days thinking of those thoughts, as a creature of habit I was stuck with that thought despite my efforts to resist it.
As the saying goes, what you resist persists.
The reason I would stay with a thought for so long was because I’m the kind of person that enjoys analyzing and seeing multiple perspectives to all situations because I like to extract as much value as I can from them, it’s my natural curiosity.
All the possibilities that would come up were all creative and insightful, sure, but would they come true? All the worrying was very counter-productive in hindsight. I wasn’t getting as much done as I wanted to in a day, and day in and day out I seemed to be losing my mind slowly. I would stay up nights on end without much sleep and the next day it would be that same cycle over again. At some point I decided to let it drag out, spend as much time in one continuous interval without sleep to get it over with, once and for all, I had faith that in that sitting I would finally obtain the peace of mind that I needed…and you know what? It worked. I was freed. After staying awake for around 46 hours or so, probably more, the thoughts slowed and I dropped into a meditative state, one in which all thoughts subsided and my mind cleared itself of all thought, no longer were they fighting within the cavity of my mind to pervade it, but rather they ceased. What came next were the answers I had been awaiting, insight from my own mind that I needed to understand.
I don’t regret spending all that time thinking everything that I did, because like I said, I derived value from it and eventually moved on thanks to that state of meditation I fell into. Now, I’m not suggesting anyone stay awake for that long to get to that point…it’s a unique experience that I needed to go through in order to free myself from the holds of my mind.
Just like you can free yourself from the endless chatter of your mind through quieting your mind, whether through meditation or a simple awareness of the thoughts that go through your mind that don’t hold much caliber and aren’t helping you out in any way throughout your day. You can just tell your mind to stop and bring yourself back into reality to enjoy the present moment.
I find it easier and much more gratifying now, to spend a good while thinking about something and not dwelling on it too much. I remind myself that despite however a situation’s outcome may be, and however many possibilities there are to it, I shouldn’t let any possible outcome stop me from living my life the way that I am. That way I revert myself into the present moment and enjoy living life mindfully.
According to Occam’s razor, in the event that there are multiple possible explanations, the simpler one is usually the best one to take. Same so with the decision to entertain an arbitrary thought or letting it go, if the latter is the simpler approach, then that one is the best option.
Nowadays when pondering on sticking with a thought I toss it aside for a bit, meditate on it, and usually get to insight a lot faster than I would if I were to hold it consciously for too long, this is due to the subconscious minds’ ability to decipher a problem and obtain insight and bubble it to the surface of one’s mind so long as they are patient and faithful that in the quietude of the mind, great wealth will emerge.