The Simple Art of Watching

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The day we get into an argument with someone, our mind produces a million agitated thoughts, leading to an endless mind chatter. Nikita was experiencing a torrent of agitation in her mind after a heated argument with a colleague. Now, Nikita was caught up in the domino effect of thoughts, as she was walking in the park. Thus, she could neither enjoy the weather nor appreciate the colorful flowers.

Nikita is a hardcore environmentalist, a big supporter of renewable energy. Instead of investing in a dryer, she had opted for a retractable clothesline, to dry her clothes under the sun. She rode a bike to work and found small ways to save energy in her daily activities. Nikita did not grasp the fact, that this constant stream of uncontrollable thoughts was depleting her mental energy. The mind chatter puts us in a bad mood, and significantly reduces the motivation to reach our outward goals. In Nikita’s example, she may just take her car the next day to work instead of the biking, since the racing thoughts have drained her physically!

Majority of us are not even conscious that we are caught in this thought pattern. Thus, the first step is to become aware and recognize that we are entangled in this web. Once we are cognizant of this, we can explore different ways to quieten the agitated mind.

An instant reaction will be to control our thoughts with force, willpower or some chemical substance. These will be quick fix band aids lasting for a short span of time, with side effects.

We need to achieve our goal without compulsions or forceful decisions, with no effort involved. This sounds strange to just sit and watch the thought subside.

If we are stuck in this mental trauma of thoughts, we need to bring our awareness to this pattern without creating any kind of reaction. One can call it the ART of Watching – to watch thoughts with no prejudice, bias, judgement, explanation, opinions, assumptions, sentiments or theories. The memory structure is completely dismantled in this “Watching” activity.

We apply all our energy to give complete attention to watch our thoughts, without expectations of any reward or punishment for this exercise. This is done without any effort or friction. This participation of complete attention on the chatter dissolves the “noise”. After a few moments, the mind will start to chatter, once again. This practice of attention needs to be repeated using the exactly the same method. As we are ‘simply” watching with no previous memory, the thought pattern will get wiped off. Once we maintain our awareness and direct our attention to watch our thoughts, we will break the habit of excessive thinking. Our brain will be always alert, and not fall prey to mind chatter!

Nikita smiles to herself, as she found the key to unlock the most important renewable energy. She has learnt the art to recharge herself to enhance her energy levels and thus enjoy mental as well as physical well-being!

 

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