How to Turn Off Your Mind

Among the legacies of human evolution are the many precursive drives that still exist and continue to compel our thoughts and actions. The “novelty” or “curiosity” drive has always been elemental for the survival and thriving of our species. It prompts to us to be on the look out for predators, to obtain a strategic sense of our surroundings, to find food, shelter and even a mate.

Of course, it also keeps our minds healthy and engaged. If we had no desire to seek out new information and experiences, we’d never leave the house or paint a painting. We’d never even get to know each other because we’d fail to notice any benefit from doing so. The novelty drive fills our lives with amusement, fun, and endless spontaneity.

But if we can never turn off, or limit this instinct, then our awareness becomes an endless stream of consciousness poem. When this happens, it seems like there’s never a break in the action, never a chance to process and rest. If this sounds like your inner voice, than perhaps you’ve wondered (endlessly): How can I turn this off for a sec?

Thought is energy. Energy is a particle and a wave. The particles are individual thoughts. The wave is the endless stream of things that you “just have to tell yourself,” even though you’ve heard it all before. What can you do?

See yourself as the shepherd of your mind and awareness. These thoughts are sheep and they are following their fancy, searching out the greenest grass. But as the shepherd, it’s your job to keep the herd moving in the direction you’d like it to go, or to stop for a rest if that feels good. If you can accept the fact that no direction is necessarily right, and no direction is inherently wrong, than perhaps you can give yourself permission to be in charge. If your deepest inclination is to look at cat videos, than perhaps you can really honor that motivation and bring all of yourself to that experience. Maybe you’ll see something in the whimsical behavior of a cat that you really needed to.

Bring your attention to the center of your head. Close your eyes and visualize two lines intersecting – right in the center. Let yourself assume your power and rightful place as the shepherd of your thoughts in the center of your head. Relax and breath. Be present to your prerogative. Are errant thoughts running off? Can you let them go? Maybe they’re not part of your flock. If you’re truly afraid of losing them forever, then you may wish to open your eyes and write them down. Some thoughts will not leave us be until we commit them to safe storage.

Stay with the center of your head as much as you can. Build this skill like a muscle. Practice allowing the herd of your thoughts to wander far and wide, and then practice corralling your attention back to the center, guiding your attention as you choose – from the center of your head: This place is a great place to access your cognition and knowingness.

How do you turn off your mind? By refusing to chase your thoughts over hill and valley. Adhere to your center and find a peaceful place for yourself within the dynamic movement of life. You can’t stop the ever potentiating energy of the universe. So let your thoughts graze in the pasture and trust that when the time comes, what is truly yours will move with you.

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