Silencing your mind

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I enjoy intelligent conversation with my peers. There is something so satisfying about speaking with someone, and it could be someone you’ve known for years, and learning that they share many of the same likes and dislikes as you.
Over the weekend, I had such a conversation with a friend I’ve known for many years. We’ve mostly hung out at get-togethers, which can often make it difficult to hold weighty conversations.
We discussed music, current events, books and then philosophy.
My friend sent me a link to a YouTube video narrated and written by British philosopher Alan Watts.
Prior to this, I had never heard of Watts and when I listened to “The Real You,” I suddenly felt comforted in knowing there are people who think as I do. He speaks of our existence and the experience of nothing, things I often ponder.
Then I listened to “The Mind.”
“One of the most obvious instances that we all know is the phenomenon of worry,” he wrote.
I worry about any and everything; from if my alarm will go off in the morning to if my parents make it back home safely from a trip to the grocery store. (Yes, I make them check in frequently.)
My mom, sister, brother-in-law and nephew were traveling through Canada to Alaska last week and we had no communication, except for a few scattered messages when they found an Internet connection. Thankfully, they made it safe to Alaska. I prayed about their journey every day, but that doesn’t stop my mind from working overtime.
As Watts states, worrying affects your appetite and sleep pattern and then we worry about why we’re worrying so much.
It’s certainly a vicious cycle and Watts said that it’s hard for us to allow our minds to be quiet because “you are addicted to thoughts.”
This is true, I cannot pinpoint the last time I wasn’t thinking about something. Even when I’m watching some “fluff” video on YouTube, I’m still constantly thinking about other important things.
Watts suggests to halt your thinking.
“If you leave your mind alone, it will quiet itself,” Watts said.
In my opinion, that sounds easier said than done but it’s worth a try.

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