Is it safe to stop thinking?

Is it safe to stop thinking? 

How your body responds to thinking

20175295 - businessman clear junk from his headMany people these days are familiar with meditation and at least conceptually get the idea of stopping thoughts in order to clear their mind.  When we move from concept to experience we often find that this is tricker than we realize.  To suspend thought, even momentarily can be quite an accomplishment.  

So why are we so addicted to thinking?  Why is it such a challenge to turn off our thoughts for more than a few seconds at a time?  When we stop thoughts our mind is literally clear or empty.  Though for many people this sounds delightful, to our physiology this emptiness can actually feel scary or unsafe.  If there is no thought than what is there but wide open space, void of the activity which typically fills it and the sense of self that comes with it.

The mind empty of its thoughts tends to look for the next thought to fill it back up so that it doesn’t experience this emptiness, as its function is to have thought, and without thought its basically functionless.  The thing that makes it the most scary for us here is that we are quite identified with our thoughts.  Most people think that they are the thoughts they have.  So to suspend thought is to suspend their sense of self, their identity, who they think they are.  


Who are you if you are not your thoughts? 

Awareness beyond thought

32805283 - human head radiatesIn order to begin to feel safe in a body while simultaneously not being fixated in thoughts requires that you begin to know yourself beyond thoughts.  When we move beyond thought we start to move into the realm of presence.  In the realm of presence rather than thinking self we experience self.  This may be confusing for some because we don’t really know what is beyond thought.

That which is beyond thought is simply pure awareness.  Pure awareness doesn’t have labels, names or ideas yet.  Some people call it “spiritual” but really it is just a state of emptiness of thought.  It is the state that comes before thought, activity, movement, sensation and your body.  When you empty your mind awareness is what remains.  Through using your focus you can shift into bringing awareness into the forefront rather than the background of all things, which is where it usually hangs out in our ordinary mind.  

So back to safety in our body.  In order to feel safe and experience our self beyond thought we must allow the discomfort of emptiness, nothingness, the void of things and eventually of self if you will.  This can come in little sips and is actually what an “open mind” is.  An open mind is one that is clear of the stream of mental activity, which then allows the stream of awareness to be known.  

That hunger that so many of us have to be a clear vessel of love, light and true self begins here.  Safety is learned through direct experiencing of self beyond thought in little tastes until we begin to un-identity with the thought based self and re-identify with awareness as self.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Rest in yourself

Rest in yourself 

The habit of being in your thoughts 

42052191 - women, black, worried.Whether we are aware of it or not most of us spend a lot of time in our heads thinking about stuff.  It could be as mundane as what we are going to eat for dinner or as deep as what the purpose of our existence is.  Anytime you are thinking you are not present.  Instead you are lost in thought, thinking about things that have come and gone or that may exist in the future.

For some people being in their thoughts, stories, ideas and concepts feels safer than being present or “in their body”.  This is because when we are present we actually don’t know what is going to happen next and for most people this feels scary or unsafe.  For a second or two reflect on your day and notice how you pretty much know what your day is going to look like, from the activities you will engage in, where you will go, what you will eat, etc.  That is what your mind has created for you and you tend to follow it pretty closely.  In fact when something distracts you or interferes with your plan you often get annoyed or upset.

People spend so much time in their thoughts that they even believe that they are their thoughts and the things they think about themselves.  For example some people have the thought that they are either kind or mean, or smart or stupid, or rich or poor.  These are really just thoughts about you, but they are not actually you.  This is tricky to see because we are so accustom to thinking that the thoughts we think are who we are, but they are not.  If you can be aware of the thought then clearly it is not you.  You are instead that which is aware of thought, not the thought itself.

Most of us are resting into our thoughts of who we think we are instead of resting into who we actually are.  This creates underlying tension in our system and a sense of uncomfortableness “being in our body”.

How to become rested in yourself

Safe & easeful embodiment 

couple rested on couchSo what does it take to become rested in yourself?  How do you move from being thought focused to simply being present?

The first thing to do is to stop all thought several times throughout your day.  This requires disengaging your awareness (who you actually are) from thoughts/thinking.  Now this may seem simple, but as you do this you may discover that you are way more addicted to thinking than you were aware of.  You may also find that there are some thoughts that you don’t want to disengage from, thoughts that you identify yourself with and are attached too.

Second notice what is present when you stop thinking.  Become more and more aware of what is present in the absence of thought.  As you put more attention here it will become easier to stop identifying yourself with your thoughts and you will be able to rest more into yourself as awareness instead of your identity.  This is where true safety is born.

One of the things the Network Spinal Analysis assists with is creating an easeful state in your nervous system.  When there is more ease in your physiology it becomes easier to rest in yourself and simply be present.  As you are able to rest more in yourself you will develop an inner sense of safety through your experience of being present and simultaneously being ok.  This is how inner safety is learned.

When you are rested in yourself in this way there is less needing to figure things out with your thoughts and instead there is a natural flow as you are present with what is alive in any given moment.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Attaining your dreams ≠ your security

Attaining your dreams ≠ your security 

Illusion of certainty & security 

18809563 - book of happy family stories, vector illustration template designWe all want to feel safe, supported and taken care of and live our dreams.  Our lives basically revolve around making this a reality for ourselves.  We make sure we have the job, business, home, finances, health, relationships, and connections, which give us a “sense” of certainty or security that we will be ok.  As long as things “work out” or continue in the ways we think we need them too, we consider our life stable and a success.

Those of us fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to attain this level of success often realize that it’s not all the glam its built up to be.  Yes, it does feel good to have the material possessions, relationships and level of contribution that you desire, but “stress” about money, health and relationships often persists even when people make $1M per year, have the partnership they desire, eat healthier than 95% of the population and are contributing to the world like crazy.  I actually see more times than not, that as people achieve more, their stress levels rise as they now try to manage, control, maintain and grow that which they created.

So if attaining all of our dreams does not guarantee our certainty and security, then what does?

Relinquishing outcomes 

Embracing uncertainty creates certainty

Most people have heard the saying that you have to detach from the outcome.  We can typically do this for things that are “smaller” that don’t effect our sense of security, however when it comes to “bigger” things like our business, family, health or life purpose we tend to cling on for dear life, literally.

being okBeing “ok” or your sense of security does not come from things “working out” how you think they should, but instead comes from your ability to remain unshaken despite however things turn out.  What this looks like is  this: You just received a diagnosis of cancer, instead of terror and dread of your immorality, you experience a gentle solidity inside of you.  Your business takes a rapid decline, instead of fear of how you will pay your bills and keep your house, a soft voice speaks inside of you reminding you it is working out for you.  A relationship unexpectedly ends and instead of devastation you know inside that you are ok on your own.

Now this doesn’t mean that you don’t feel whatever emotions come with these experiences.  You do, perhaps even more so, however you have a deeper resting place inside your being of knowing you are ok, safe and secure.  Through embracing uncertainty, you’ve relinquished the need to have your life look a certain way.  This creates security in yourself and how you show up with this new set of life experiences that is presenting itself.  This is the only experience of true “certainty” that I have found to exist.

Those who find this way experience true freedom.  They are not attached to outcome and thus are not stressed trying to control and manage their life.  Simultaneously they care deeply for life, so much so that they will put their arrogance aside of thinking they know what it is supposed to look like at every twist and turn, and learn to trust the rhythm of this grand universe we are all a part of and which is orchestrating life on scales much larger than our mind’s limited and narrow perspective can see.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado