Most thoughts are pointless. In the past, I thought, that I think my thoughts. But this is obviously untrue. Can you really stop thinking? Do you really have control over your thoughts? Or do thoughts just come and go, and you jump to the conclusion, that you are the thinker. Is the feeling of being the thinker just a function of the brain?
If this sounds crazy to you, try out a 10-minute meditation and focus on your breath (try not to think). I can almost guaranty that you, that you will notice, that you have almost no control about your thoughts. And that most of them are not helpful. You try to relax and they distract you.
This is, of course, not a problem. Thought just bubble up all day. The problem starts, when you start to believe the thoughts and identify with them. If you concentrate on them, and you miss what is right in front of your eyes.
What do I mean with it? Imagine you are taking a walk around a lake, and you think about work. You might have said something bad to a colleague. Now you can’t stop thinking about it.
A useful amount of thought would be something like „Ok — that was bad. I will apologize“. You can absolutely do it tomorrow. But not here at the lake. That’s useful thought. But if your thoughts spiral into a carousel, and you play out potential conversations with your colleague, what you might have done better, that you hate your job, you might miss how beautiful the birds are chirping, that the sun is shinning and that, now, you cannot address the problem.
Most thoughts do not solve a problem. They do not help you with anything. They are completely useless and even might make you fell bad. Worst of all, they might rob your happiness.
Even „positive“ thoughts and daydreaming might be a waste of time because they also might filter out the pure joy of simply being. If you do not know what I mean, look at a small child, that discovers how wonderful the world is. How wonderful a leaf looks. Who enjoys rain and loves hoping into puddles.
The adult only thinks - oh damn it. It is raining and stays inside.
But the joy of the child is still available to every adult. It is just obscured behind a lot of thinking, that stops him to just see and feel what is really going on.
So, my goal is to recognize these thoughts and to concentrate on my surrounding. On my surroundings. On what I am doing.
Who cares if people do not vaccinate against Corona? Wo cares about that I need to run an errand tomorrow? I am baking a bread now :) My thoughts will distract me from the fresh smell. From kneading the dough. They are not really helpful to anyone.
I am not sure if I can undo all the years of habitual thinking. If I can be like a child again. But it is worth a try.