What Is The Main Cause Of Overthinking?
Suppose we have been having some pain in our arm for a few days. And just then we came to know that the next door Uncle too had been suffering from arm pain for the last one week, and today he got a paralysis attack. Now, this news triggers a whirlwind of thoughts in our minds, “My arm has also been hurting for a while now; what could be its reason? I hope I don’t suffer from paralysis. No, no, I will not suffer paralysis. But why isn’t my pain subsiding even after taking painkillers? Did I consult the right doctor? Whom should I ask now?” And thus, we begin to overthink regarding this matter.
So, thoughts arise in the mind. And the main cause of overthinking is that we become one with the thoughts that come.
When we get overwhelmed and entangled with our thoughts, the mind turns and twists and creates misery, suffocation, and worries. And because of our worries and tensions, we begin to overthink.
To avoid overthinking, one often tries ways to control the mind, and when one fails, he resorts to ways by which the mind can be destroyed. But either way is not right.
Many of us try to control our thoughts in various ways. But In reality, the thoughts are not under our control. If we had control over our thoughts, we would permit only good thoughts; why would we allow any bad thought to occur? But bad thoughts do come, don’t they? Good thoughts and bad thoughts, they come on their own.
On the other hand, if we try to destroy the mind, we will become absent-minded. The mind takes us to moksha (liberation) if we can steer it up properly, like a boat.
So what’s the way out? How do we avoid overthinking? How do we steer our mind properly, like a boat?
We can avoid this by ‘seeing’ the thoughts as separate. When is it considered as ‘seeing’ a thought in a true sense? It is considered as ‘seeing’ when you do not get entangled with any thought, you just say, ‘noted its contents’, and move on. Doing so, no thought will affect you. And if you get engrossed in the thought, it will begin to affect you.
The nature of the mind is not to remain seated on a single topic. Only if we remain seated on a single topic, it will also remain seated there, which leads to overthinking. Also, the mind does not have any insistence on speaking in a certain way. If we become awkward, then it is awkward. So we should tell the mind, ‘I have noted its contents’, else it will say, ‘You have no respect for me.’ If we respect the mind, it will not give us any trouble.
While we should respect the mind, it doesn’t mean we should follow whatever it says. Kabir Sahib has said, “When one does as the mind dictates, he loses everything.” If we are one with the mind, we will be bound by the mind. We shouldn’t listen to the mind. We should proceed according to our goal.
It is the nature of the ego to become one with the mind. Only when we realize who we really are i.e. upon attaining Self-realization, we are separated from the mind and the ego permanently.
Then, with the awareness of, ‘I am pure Soul’, we can see the mind as separate from us. So, after Self-realization, we do not need to kill or move the mind, we just have to see the thoughts as they arise and pass away.
For instance, you might have noticed how a man standing at the entrance of any function receives the guests. When the first guest comes, the man says ‘Welcome’, and the guest moves on. Then, the second guest comes. The man says ‘Welcome’ and within no time, the second guest moves on. The man does not get stuck with any of the guests. Similarly, here also, a thought comes and goes, then another comes and goes; if we do not get entangled in any of them and overthink, the thought shall move; it will not stop even for a moment.
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